Orzo with Shrimp, Zucchini, Tomatoes, and Purple Basil

Purple basil is an intensely flavorful and colorful variety of basil. It's available at farmers' markets and some specialty grocery stores. If you can't find it, then substitute equal amounts of Thai basil or a larger amount of regular green basil.

Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup uncooked orzo
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small garlic clove, minced
16 extra large shrimp, peeled and de-veined
1 cup zucchini, sliced into thin rounds, then sliced in half
2 tablespoons dry white wine
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Zest of 1/2 lemon (about 1 to 2 teaspoons)
1 cup halved cherry or grape tomatoes
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tablespoons thinly sliced purple basil

1. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Cook orzo according to package directions until al dente. Drain.

2. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, warm the olive oil. Add garlic, stirring about 1 minute, until fragrant. Add shrimp, and cook until they turn bright red and the meat is opaque. Add zucchini and cook about 5 minutes, until softened and lightly browned in spots. Add wine and lemon juice, and lower the heat to medium. Add lemon zest, tomatoes, and salt and pepper. Taste it, and adjust seasonings as necessary. Add to the cooked orzo and toss well. Gently stir in the purple basil saving a few of the slices for garnish.

Variation: Use chicken or tofu in place of the shrimp.

Recipe created by Susan Russo of Food Blogga.