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Orzo with Scallops, Asparagus and Okra

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This is one of my favorite light pasta recipes – perfect for a warm winter night, like every night in San Francisco. I first created it almost a year ago when I made dinner for a friend that I was visiting in Brooklyn during a work trip to New York (which is also my hometown). I’ve made a few alterations over the last year, but it’s generally the same as the first time – and just as delicious!

(serves two)

  • 1 cup of okra (about 15 pieces)
  • half a bunch of asparagus
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 TB EVOO
  • 1 TB grape seed oil
  • 1 cup orzo
  • 10 sea scallops (frozen or fresh)
  • 1/2 cup of basil
  • S&P to taste


  1. If you’re using frozen sea scallops, defrost them. Run them under cold water for about 7-10 minutes.
  2. Boil a medium pot of water.
  3. Trim the ends off the okra, and slice into thirds.
  4. Snap the stems off the asparagus, and cut the remaining spear into one inch size pieces.
  5. Heat the EVOO in a medium sized skillet. Add the garlic and sauté to brown.
  6. Add the okra and asparagus to the skillet and sauté under medium heat for about 5 minutes, then lower heat to medium low and stir occasionally.
  7. Add the orzo to the boiling water, and stir occasionally.
  8. Heat the grape seed oil in a small skillet. Once heated, add the scallops.
  9. Cook scallops for about 4 minutes on each side, seasoning with light salt and pepper. Ideal cooking time is when they begin to brown on both sides.
  10. Once orzo is cooked, add to medium skillet with okra and asparagus.
  11. Add the juice of half the lemon, and the zest from the whole lemon.
  12. Add the scallops and S&P to taste, and stir to combine.
  13. Serve with basil sprinkled on, and shaved parmesan (if you like).

I usually enjoy this dish with a Sauvignon Blanc or white blend. Tonight I had it with the Hop Kiln Thousand Flowers white wine that I purchased in Healdsburg a few weeks ago. The stone fruit flavors and citrus qualities balance nicely with the lemon in the dish. You could also try it with a Chardonnay. I would suggest a Chardonnay aged in French oak, such as the 2009 Trefethen Chardonnay. Slightly mineral with citrus and green apple flavors, the Chardonnay will pair well with the lemon zest and the buttery, rich flavor in the scallops.

Cheers, and enjoy!

About Kelsey

Kelsey is a food and wine lover residing in Napa, California, where she does marketing for a boutique wine collective. She previously lived in San Francisco for over six years, where her blogging journey began. She loves to cook seasonal meals and experiment with new wine pairings. She has been drinking and learning about wine with her father since she was 14, and cooking in the kitchen with her mother since she was 6. Both of her parents taught her well about seasoning and flavors, and she continues to learn more with every meal that is made.

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