Oven-Baked Shrimp & Orzo with Feta: A Cozy Feast











This Oven-Baked Shrimp & Orzo with Feta recipe is a perfect blend of juicy shrimp, orzo pasta, and creamy feta, baked to perfection. A delightful main course that promises a burst of flavors and textures, it's sure to be a hit at any dining table.


Step 1: Prep and Season Shrimp

Start your culinary adventure by preheating your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Take the shrimp and generously season them with salt and pepper. Let them chill in the refrigerator while you prepare the rest. Make sure to grease a 13x9-inch baking dish for later use. This step ensures your shrimp are flavorful and ready to cook to perfection.
Pro Tip: Pat shrimp dry before seasoning for better adherence of spices.

Step 2: Sauté Fennel and Onion

Heat some oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until it shimmers, signaling it's ready for the vegetables. Add the diced fennel bulb and onion, sprinkling half a teaspoon of salt to help them soften and release their flavors. Continue stirring for about 10 minutes until they're beautifully caramelized around the edges. This base of fennel and onion will infuse your dish with sweet, aromatic undertones, making every bite a delight.
Pro Tip: Keep the heat at a medium level to prevent burning while ensuring a sweet, caramelized texture.

Step 3: Add Orzo and Broth

Introduce the orzo to the sautéed vegetables, stirring it well to coat it in the oils and flavors. After about 4 minutes, when the orzo begins to emit a nutty aroma, pour in the white wine. Let the wine evaporate, which will take around a minute, then add the chicken broth and water along with a quarter teaspoon of salt. Let this mixture come to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 12 minutes until the orzo is tender yet slightly firm, al dente. Stirring occasionally will keep the orzo from sticking and ensure even cooking.
Pro Tip: Add broth slowly to control the cooking process and prevent the orzo from becoming mushy.

Step 4: Bake with Feta Cheese

Now, gently fold in the shrimp, tomatoes, oregano, and half of the parsley into the orzo. Transfer this hearty mixture into your prepared baking dish and sprinkle the crumbled feta cheese over the top. Bake for about 20 minutes, until the shrimp are cooked through and the feta lightly browns, creating a delectable crust. This step not only cooks the shrimp to perfection but also melds the flavors with the creamy, tangy touch of feta.
Pro Tip: Sprinkle a bit of olive oil over the feta before baking for an extra golden top.

Step 5: Garnish and Serve

Once out of the oven, let it stand for a few minutes. Sprinkle the remaining parsley and the reserved fennel fronds over your baked masterpiece for a fresh, herbal touch. Serve it hot with lemon wedges on the side, allowing guests to add a burst of brightness to their dish. The lemon's acidity will beautifully contrast the creamy feta and the rich flavors of the bake, providing a perfect finishing touch.
Pro Tip: Allowing the dish to rest for a few minutes before serving enhances the flavors.