Spicy Southern Style Shrimp is a flavorful one-skillet dish that comes together in the time it takes to cook the orzo pasta. It has a little bit of a kick from the Cajun seasoning but it isn’t overpowering. Fresh basil is especially highlighted in the Lemon Basil Orzo, which would also make a nice side dish to anything off the grill.
Spicy Southern Style Shrimp with Lemon Basil Orzo
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh basil, chopped, divided
2 pounds raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning (see note)
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Kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons salted butter
2 red or yellow bell peppers, chopped
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
½ cup dry white wine, such as Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc
1 cup heavy creamy (or milk)
¾ cup grated parmesan cheese
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook the orzo to al dente, according to package directions. Drain and add it right back to the hot pot. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil, ¼ cup basil, lemon juice, 1 tablespoon butter and season lightly with salt.
2. Meanwhile, toss the shrimp with 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning.
3. In a large skillet set over medium-high heat, add 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon butter. Add the shrimp and cook on both sides until seared, about 2-3 minutes per side. Remove the shrimp from the pan.
4. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, bell peppers, garlic and thyme. Cook 2 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and pour in the wine. Simmer over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Then add the cream, parmesan and 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning. Season with salt and pepper. Slide the shrimp into the sauce, simmer 5 minutes until the sauce has thickened slightly. Remove from the heat and stir in the remaining ¼ cup of basil.
5. Spoon the orzo onto plates, then spoon the shrimp and sauce over the orzo. Garnish with fresh basil, if desired.
NOTE: You can make Cajun seasoning if you can’t find it at the store.
Homemade Cajun Seasoning: mix 2½ teaspoons smoked paprika, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder, 1 teaspoon dried oregano, 1 teaspoon dried thyme, 1 teaspoon chili powder, 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1½ teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Makes ¼ cup.
Adapted from halfbakedharvest.com
This ice cream has a great basil-y flavor without being too intense. However, even if you love basil, don’t be tempted to add extra to the recipe as it can quickly overpower the dish.
The ice cream can be served on it’s own, but when paired with fresh fruit it really shines. We recommend grilled peaches, blackberries, or strawberries with a balsamic glaze — they all pair perfectly with the earthy flavor of the ice cream.
Creamy Basil Ice Cream
1. Measure out the sugar. Zest lemon directly into the sugar and rub everything together for about a minute or so, until the sugar gets fragrant.
2. Use a food processor to grind the basil leaves with the lemon sugar until the leaves are ground as fine as possible. Add 1 cup of heavy cream and pulse to combine. Cream should turn a pale green but be careful not to whip the cream.
3. Pour half of the mixture from the food processor through a strainer into a large bowl. Add the remaining 1 1/8 cups of heavy cream.
4. Heat the other half of the basil lemon puree in a saucepan along with the whole milk and salt over medium heat. In a medium sized bowl, whisk together the egg yolks. When the basil mixture is steaming, slowly pour it into the egg yolks while whisking constantly. Return the mixture back into the saucepan.
5. Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a rubber spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until it is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, about five minutes. Pour the custard through the strainer into the bowl with the cream mixture. Cool custard over an ice bath while stirring.
6. Chill completely, then freeze in an ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Let harden in the freezer for a few hours before serving.
Adapted from cinnamonandcoriander.com