Royal Prawn Saffron Orzo Delight - Heray Spice

Royal Prawn Saffron Orzo Delight

Oct 18, 2023Deandra Mazaya

After a night out at a Greek restaurant in Chicago called Andros Taverna, there was a dish served called ‘Seafood Orzotto’. This caught our eye because it had saffron in it. It was delicious so naturally, we had to look for a recipe that incorporated saffron and orzo. During our research, it was interesting to learn that orzo originated from Italy. However, they are also found in other cuisines, particularly in the Mediterrenean and the Middle East. Regarding the recipe that we chose, we went for ‘King Prawn Orzo with Tomato and Saffron’, simply because the dish looked so appetizing. Before we talk about the recipe for that dish, let’s look at a brief background on what orzo is. 

When coming across orzo, one might mistaken it for rice due to its shape. When we first saw it, we thought it was risotto! Although they might look similar, they are different. Orzo is a type of wheat pasta while risotto is made with starchy rice. Orzo is also known as risoni, which translates to ‘barley’ in Italian, and this is because orzo resembles it.

The most common orzo is made with semolina flour, and this has a somewhat yellow hue. There is also another variety of orzo that’s tricolour, and this is the effect of dyeing the pasta with a combination of sun-dried tomatoes and spinach. 


King Prawn Orzo with Tomato and Saffron

Photo credit: Zen's Kitchen



For Homemade Prawn Stock:

  • Prawn shells and heads (reserved from the peeled prawns)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups water
  • Salt and black pepper to taste


For Orzo:

  • 1 cup orzo pasta
  • 1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon saffron threads
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine (optional)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (adjust to taste)
  • Salt and black pepper to taste
  • Fresh parsley, chopped, for garnish
  • Lemon wedges, for serving



Homemade Prawn Stock Preparation:

1. Sauté the Aromatics

    • In a large saucepan, heat a bit of oil over medium heat.
    • Add the prawn shells and heads, chopped onion, carrot, garlic, and bay leaf.
    • Sauté the ingredients for a few minutes until they release their flavours and aromas.


2. Create the Stock

    • Add 4 cups of water and bring the mixture to a boil. 
    • Reduce the heat to a simmer and let it cook for about 30-40 minutes to develop a flavourful prawn stock.
    • Once done, strain the stock into a separate container and discard the solids.


    Orzo Preparation:

    1. Sauté the Aromatics

      • In a large skillet,  heat the olive oil over medium heat.
      • Add the  chopped onion and minced garlic and sauté until they become translucent.


    2. Add Tomatoes and Infused Saffron

      • Pour  in the diced tomatoes (with their juices) and the infused saffron, including the water it was soaked in. Stir to combine.


    3. Add Wine and Broth

      • If using white wine, pour it into the skillet and let it simmer for a few minutes to reduce.
      • Add the chicken or vegetable broth and season with red pepper flakes, salt, and black pepper. Stir well.


    4. Cook the Prawns

      • Add the king prawns to the skillet and cook for about 3-4 minutes, or until they turn pink and are cooked through. Be careful not to overcook them, as they can become tough.


    5. Combine with Orzo and Serve

      • Add the cooked orzo to the skillet and gently fold it into the tomato and prawn mixture. Allow it to heat through, stirring to combine all the flavours.
      • If the mixture seems too dry, you can add a bit more prawn stock or broth.
      • Once everything is heated through and well-mixed, remove the skillet from the heat.
      • Garnish with freshly chopped parsley and serve with lemon wedges on the side.



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