Instant Pot orzo and shrimp pasta cooks very quickly, even though the orzo cooks first and then the shrimp is added. This pasta has a creamy, risotto-like texture even though no cream or dairy is added.
This Instant Pot shrimp recipe shows how to add defrosted, raw shrimp to a pressure cooker recipe, without overcooking the shrimp.
To make Instant Pot shrimp pasta, you can cook the pasta first and then release the pressure and add the raw shrimp. The shrimp will cook in the residual heat while the pasta rests for about 5 minutes.
The pasta will be perfectly cooked, and so will the shrimp!
Shrimp cooks really quickly. Even a few minutes under pressure can make it overcooked and rubbery. That's why it's better to add it at the very end.
Ingredients & Substitutions
Shrimp: This recipe works best with defrosted, raw shrimp. After the orzo has cooked in the Instant Pot, the raw shrimp is added. While the cooked orzo rests for 5 minutes and absorbs the remaining water in the pot, the raw shrimp cooks and warms up with the orzo.
Substitution: If necessary, you can use cooked, defrosted shrimp instead. I've also used frozen, cooked shrimp and added it directly the orzo when the shrimp is still frozen. Both work fairly well, but tend to bring down the temperature of the whole dish so neither the orzo or the shrimp are hot when you're ready to eat.
I don't recommend adding frozen, raw shrimp to this recipe. If you cook frozen shrimp with the orzo, it will be overcooked and rubbery. If you add it after the orzo has cooked, it won't defrost and cook fully. It's best to defrost the raw shrimp first.
Orzo: This pasta cooks quickly, but needs 5 minutes to rest and absorb liquid after cooking. This is also the perfect amount of time for shrimp to cook with the orzo. If you'd like to make plain orzo, try this recipe for Instant Pot orzo.
Substitution: This recipe would also work well using Instant Pot egg noodles.
The technique of cooking the pasta, releasing the pressure, then adding shrimp while the pasta rests can be used with any of your favorite Instant Pot pasta recipes.
White wine: This is optional, but does add more flavor to the orzo
Garlic: Add as much as you like, but don't skip the garlic, otherwise the orzo can be bland.
Lemon: A generous squeeze of fresh lemon adds needed acidity to this dish.
Olive Oil: Just a drizzle to saute the garlic.
Step 1: Saute garlic briefly in olive oil or butter. Add white wine and simmer 1 minute.
Step 2: Add water, orzo and salt. Cook the orzo for 2 minutes, with a quick release.
Step 3: Stir in the shrimp. Let the orzo and shrimp rest with the lid on for 5 minutes to finish cooking.
Step 4: Add fresh herbs and a generous squeeze of lemon. Add more salt to taste.
For ingredient amounts and detailed instructions, see the recipe card below.
This is a one-pot meal that only needs an easy veggie on the side. I often serve frozen peas or a quick salad.
If you have leftovers, or if you're craving something cool and summery, then turn this Instant Pot orzo into a cold pasta salad!
Cold shrimp & orzo salad: When the orzo and shrimp cool, add mayonnaise to taste and more lemon juice. Voila! You have a delicious cold pasta salad.
You should also try this recipe for cold cucumber and shrimp salad.
What is Shrimp Scampi?
Scampi are tiny lobsters, also called langoustines. So calling a recipe "shrimp scampi" is kind of like saying "shrimp lobster."
But the name stuck, and shrimp scampi became a recipe that refers to sautéing shrimp of any size with olive oil, garlic and white wine.
However, there are many variations to shrimp scampi (like this one). It might have butter or onion added, or the shrimp might be breaded, or tomato sauce might be involved.
More Shrimp & Fish Recipes
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