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rice or pasta for scampi, or both?

Making Ina Garten Baked shrimp scampi Christmas day for seven, was planning on rice and fresh pasta ( bought) Is this overkill? Menu includes celery root soup, salad, bread, two vegetable sides, thinking one side would be snap peas and carrots, another need an idea for, Suggestions appreciated!

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  1. It should be interesting to see how the opinions divide regarding rice vs. pasta!
    I love both, really, but I think rice is just a tad more manageable eating-wise and to me, there's something retro about it.
    That would be my choice, but my problem would be that I am far, far more reliable making pasta vs. rice. I just can't reliably turn out a nice, fluffy product.
    eta: I'd also pick one or the other if I could because it would simplify my life.

    1. I'd make a pasta dish, a rice dish or a rice/pasta dish, rather than a pasta dish and a rice dish, especially since you also have bread.

      I'd probably lean towards rice, if I had to choose one dish, although I think an Armenian pilaf, containing rice and vermicelli, would also be nice with scampi.
      Armenian pilaf. http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/559095

      Another option is to cook orzo pasta, risotto-style. http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo...

      1. While I personally prefer pasta I agree with the poster that said rice is an "easier eat". Make for easier conversion if you are not worried about twirling….

        Plus I think rice might soak up the yummy garlicky sauce.

        1. How about splitting the difference and serving orzo with it?

          1 Reply
          1. re: ockitchenqueen

            Ditto on the Orzo suggestion. It's my most favorite bed for Shrimp Scampi, & very forgiving if it has to wait a little while. A quick stir with a fork & it fluffs up nicely (unlike longer pasta shapes).

            If you're bent on serving a rice dish, perhaps make a separate vegetable risotto as one of your sides.

          2. I am with the orzo crowd. A nice herby one.

            Or. LOL

            You could do a nice lemony risotto.

            7 Replies
            1. re: Sal Vanilla

              Thanks, good ideas! Never cooked orzo but seems easy enough, here's another question, can i make orzo earlier in day and reheat, these old bones of mine no longer love standing, I was thrilled when I found on another post reference to baked shrimp scampi,, made a day ahead and just popped into oven. Looks like scampi is often served with linguine, so here;s another question: orzo or linguine, any pros or cons? thanks!!

              1. re: knitterbetty

                Yes indeed you most certainly can cook it ahead. Tastes just as good reheated. If you do fresh herbs in it, add that when you reheat. Put a little butter in it if it is thick or unruly looking.

                1. re: knitterbetty

                  NO - you can't cook Orzo ahead of time. It can turn into mush, just like most pasta - particularly tiny shapes like Orzo.

                  And I believe you're confusing Orzo (which is PASTA) with Risotto (which is RICE). It's RISOTTO (the rice dish) that requires you to stand for a long time stirring & stirring & stirring. ORZO is a PASTA - & a quick-cooking one at that. You add it to boiling water for a few minutes, then drain, season, & serve.

                  As far as Orzo vs. Linguine - I still vote for Orzo. It's fancier & easier/neater to eat if your guests will be dressed nicely.

                  1. re: Bacardi1

                    Whoa! Step away from the caps!
                    fwiw, I don't believe anyone is confused here.

                    1. re: monavano


                      The OP stated that she didn't want to be standing over Orzo. You don't need to "stand" over Orzo - it's cooked quickly like any other pasta. It's RISOTTO that requires the standing & frequent stirring.

                      Thus my feeling that perhaps the OP (not you) were confused about the difference between Orzo & Risotto.

                    2. re: Bacardi1

                      Whether the orzo turns to mush later might depend on the brand and/or quality of the orzo, and whether it was cooked al dente.

                      In my experience, when orzo pasta is cooked risotto-style, it doesn't turn to mush. http://www.seriouseats.com/recipes/20...

                      1. re: prima

                        Yuppy duppy foodie puppy! Get some decent orzo and don't cook it to death and then reheat it again not to death and you are golden!

                2. Just had this dish for a dinner party Saturday evening - love that shrimp. I served a rice pilaf with toasted almonds and fresh parsley. Easier to manage than pasta at the last minute.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: critter101

                    interesting! thanks and thanks Sal Vanilla, i'm gonna go with orzo, although I am curious about rice pilaf that sounds nice also!

                  2. I always do my scampi on angel hair. Personally, I don't understand the comments about 'ease of eating'. Does anyone here really find it difficult to eat long pastas? The beauty of a fresh angel hair is that you can cook it last minute and takes only a minute or so to cook.

                    3 Replies
                    1. re: CapeCodGuy

                      “Does anyone here really find it difficult to eat long pastas?”

                      LOL - I was thinking the same thing, glad someone else asked that question.

                      1. re: RetiredChef

                        I actually just deleteted my poposed post asking the same thing.

                        Of course, I had included a wish that those with such difficulty refrain from driving automobiles.

                        1. re: FrankJBN

                          a general rule of thumb for interviews or first dates is not to order long skinny pastas as your meal. not everybody is adept and there is more inherent danger of a strand (or 5) going awol and flinging sauce on your dress-to-impress outfit.

                          same goes for dinner parties.

                          i like the suggestions of orzo and cous cous, both of which reheat just fine.

                    2. Even better than orzo is couscous with shrimp scampi. Both the traditional and the larger Israeli variety really soak up all the lemony, garlicky, winey goodness in addition to being better for you than either pasta or rice.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: CDouglas

                        Just curious...why do you feel that couscous is better for you than pasta or rice? It's still made of semolina. Is it the omission of eggs that are included in Italian pastas?

                        1. re: seamunky

                          Less calories, lower carbohydrates, lower fat, lower glycemic load, more potassium.

                      2. i'd go with the rice.

                        i agree with monavano that it is more manageable, and i think it goes better with the rest of your dishes.

                        it is easier to cook right and to keep warm. plus, i think the rice absorbs more of the lovely scampi sauce.

                        you going with sugar snaps? carrots (plain or glazed)? and you want a third? how about some marinated mushrooms or mushrooms in a creamy sherry sauce. (i was thinking of winter "veggies" -- or fungi LOL). if you go with the marinated ones, they will offer a nice tart counterpunch to the rich scampi sauce, and the sweet snap peas and sweet carrots. plus, they are an interesting textural analogy to the shrimp. if you sauté them, quartered would be nice…
                        in butter & olive oil, thyme and garlic, with white wine or sherry and a touch of cream.

                        have a great dinner.

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: alkapal

                          how interesting, marinated mushrooms! never made them,but I do like the idea, thanks!

                        2. Don't forget about Polenta... To spoon some seafood and scampi sauce onto a bowl of creamy Polenta, hit it with some chopped parsley...
                          Soul-food baby...

                          1. Either would work but with those side dishes I would lean towards rice. You do not need both that would be confusing.

                            1. I think both is overkill. IMHO rice doesn’t go with scampi very well and it would be my last choice. I would stick with either a long thin pasta or Orzo.