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Shrimp, Orzo and Zucchini with Ouzo and Mint

4 Servings

1 hour 25 minutes 30 minutes active

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In her acclaimed cookbook “Aegean,” Crete-born London chef Marianna Leivaditaki coaxes orzo pasta to a rich, creamy texture, as if making risotto. A fragrant broth of brandy, aromatic vegetables and shrimp shells is the cooking liquid for the orzo, infusing the dish with richness and subtle sweetness. The shrimp themselves are added only after the orzo is al dente so they remain plump and tender. Our adaptation of her recipe takes a simpler approach to the cooking and calls for fewer ingredients but retains the delicious, bracing flavors of Leivaditaki’s creation. Ouzo is a Greek anise-flavored spirit; it’s added at the very end of cooking to accentuate the licorice notes of the fennel seed.




Don’t choose large zucchini for this recipe. Look for small to medium squash (ones that weigh 6 to 8 ounces each), as they have fewer seeds to remove. To seed the zucchini, use a small spoon to scrape along the center of each half. Also, when simmering the shrimp broth, don’t allow it boil or simmer vigorously or the liquid will evaporate too quickly and the finished volume will be too slight.

1 hour 25 minutes

30 minutes active


  • 3

    tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided

  • 1

    pound extra-large (21/25 per pound) shrimp, peeled (tails removed) and deveined, shells reserved


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Nona M.
May 8, 2023
Our favorite Greek dish yet
Homemade shrimp stock was the key along with mint and fennel. I subbed in anise seeds steeped in vodka and removed the seeds before using.
William W.
April 17, 2023
Great flavor combination
I wasn't sure about how this would turn out, but my wife and adult son agreed with me that it was 5 stars. I did need to do a few substitutions -- a 14 oz can of diced tomatoes instead of fresh, a teaspoon of lemon juice instead of the zest, and a splash of Scotch whisky with dry sherry instead of the brandy.
Linda W.
March 4, 2023
Love the combination of flavors
Love the flavor combinations. Next time I'll double up on some of them. Q: If the bay leaves are part of the vegetable stock that gets strained (and solids discarded), why must I remove them in step 5?
Scott P.
June 17, 2022
Greek Shrimp and Orzo
Fantastic dish. Very flavorful. The shrimp broth made from shells made this dish.
Earl E.

Delicious. It’s hard to believe that such a divisive and assertive flavor like anise would pair so well with food. Turkish Raki works just as well

Margaret F.

I would like to make this recipe, but don't want to buy a bottle of ouzo just to use 1 Tbsp. Is there a viable substitite?

Jennifer B.

Pretty tasty, and yes, now what to do with the rest of the ouzo.

Bill O.

Anise liqueurs go great in coffee. Just sayin'. Or as an after-dinner drink