Spanish Shrimp, Tomato, and Orzo Salad


Smoky Spanish paprika builds deep, soulful flavor in this pasta salad. photo by Nancy Duran

The kids are back in school, the pools are closed, and vacation is already a distant memory. But don’t even try telling summer that it’s over. It’s hot as Hades out there. And by the looks of the farmers’ markets, summer is still in full swing. Tomatoes are at their absolute peak. And while big beefsteak tomatoes are at the top of my list, I don’t like to overlook the humble cherry tomato. Right now, the flavor they’re packing is bigger than their diminutive size would suggest.

This warm pasta salad is the perfect bridging salad from summer to fall. It utilizes the beautiful produce still out and about but brings an earthy, deeper flavor to the front which works well with the cooler weather that is surely on the horizon. Smoky paprika, spicy chorizo, and garlicky shrimp come together with sweet plump cherry tomatoes and fresh pungent parsley. The result? A sophisticated pasta salad that can be served warm or at room temperature and is satisfying enough on its own to serve as a one dish meal on busy autumn evenings.

Serves 8 to 10

10 ounces orzo
1/2 pound large shrimp, peeled and halved crosswise
6 ounces smoked chorizo (spicy or mild), thinly sliced
2 cups cherry tomatoes
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon smoked Spanish paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Finely grated zest and juice of one lemon
2 tablespoons Amontillado sherry
3 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

  1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the orzo according to package instructions. Rinse, drain, and pour into a large serving bowl.
  2. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 425°F. In a large roasting pan, stir together the shrimp, chorizo, tomatoes, garlic, paprika, cumin, lemon zest, sherry, and oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for 10 to 12 minutes, stirring once during cooking time. The shrimp should be cooked through and the tomatoes should be beginning to burst.
  3. Scrape the shrimp mixture into the orzo bowl and add the lemon juice and parsley. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper to taste. Toss the salad and serve.

Analysis based on 8 servings (does not include salt and pepper to taste):
Calories 317, Fat 14g, Sodium 331mg, Carbohydrate 30g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 2g, Protein 16g

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