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rice or pasta for scampi, or both?

knitterbetty Dec 10, 2012 01:02 PM

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. monavano RE: knitterbetty Dec 10, 2012 01:06 PM

    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. prima RE: knitterbetty Dec 10, 2012 01:07 PM

      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. foodieX2 RE: knitterbetty Dec 10, 2012 01:19 PM

        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. o
          ockitchenqueen RE: knitterbetty Dec 10, 2012 03:12 PM

          How about splitting the difference and serving orzo with it?

          1 Reply
          1. re: ockitchenqueen
            Bacardi1 RE: ockitchenqueen Dec 10, 2012 03:34 PM

            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. s
            Sal Vanilla RE: knitterbetty Dec 10, 2012 04:44 PM

            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
              knitterbetty RE: Sal Vanilla Dec 10, 2012 05:05 PM

              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
                Sal Vanilla RE: knitterbetty Dec 10, 2012 05:17 PM

                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
                  Bacardi1 RE: knitterbetty Dec 11, 2012 02:16 PM

                  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
                    monavano RE: Bacardi1 Dec 11, 2012 02:19 PM

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

                    1. re: monavano
                      Bacardi1 RE: monavano Dec 12, 2012 08:12 AM


                      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
                      prima RE: Bacardi1 Dec 11, 2012 02:20 PM

                      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
                        Sal Vanilla RE: prima Dec 11, 2012 05:09 PM

                        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. c
                  critter101 RE: knitterbetty Dec 10, 2012 05:06 PM

                  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
                    knitterbetty RE: critter101 Dec 10, 2012 05:49 PM

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

                  2. CapeCodGuy RE: knitterbetty Dec 11, 2012 06:23 PM

                    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
                      RetiredChef RE: CapeCodGuy Dec 12, 2012 08:47 AM

                      “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
                        FrankJBN RE: RetiredChef Dec 13, 2012 08:32 AM

                        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
                          hotoynoodle RE: FrankJBN Dec 13, 2012 08:45 AM

                          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. c
                      CDouglas RE: knitterbetty Dec 11, 2012 06:25 PM

                      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
                        seamunky RE: CDouglas Dec 12, 2012 09:49 PM

                        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
                          CDouglas RE: seamunky Dec 13, 2012 08:00 AM

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

                      2. alkapal RE: knitterbetty Dec 12, 2012 08:21 AM

                        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
                          knitterbetty RE: alkapal Dec 12, 2012 08:30 PM

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

                        2. Mild Bill RE: knitterbetty Dec 12, 2012 09:56 PM

                          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. melpy RE: knitterbetty Dec 13, 2012 08:02 AM

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

                            1. RetiredChef RE: knitterbetty Dec 13, 2012 08:12 AM

                              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.

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