Don’t be dissuaded by the bland looking picture. I didn’t have the fresh basil leaves that would have enhanced the visual appeal of the dish. The flavor totally exceeded the monochromatic presentation.
This is an adapted version of a recipe from America’s Test Kitchen. The original recipe can be found on their website.
1 pound (26-30 count) shrimp
1/4 cup olive oil
1 medium onion, diced
3 large garlic cloves (thinly sliced)
2 anchovy fillets ( or equivalent anchovy paste)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
2 (15 oz.) cans (Goya) cannellini beans
1 can (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes (drained)
shredded fresh basil or one or two tablespoons of pesto
1/2 tsp. lemon zest and a couple of squeezes of juice
salt and pepper to taste
1. Peel the shrimp and reserve the shells. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the shrimp shells. Cook the shells, stirring until they start to brown. Remove from the heat and add a cup of water to the pan. Be careful. This will bubble up and spatter. Return to heat and simmer for about five minutes. Strain through a colander, discard the shells and set the liquid aside. Wipe out the pan.
* You may be tempted to skip this part but don’t. It really adds to the flavor.
2. Heat 2 TBS. oil in the wiped out skillet. Add the onion, garlic, anchovies, red pepper flakes, 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Cook for about five minutes until the onion starts to soften and the flavors have combined.
3. Add 1 can of drained and rinsed beans, 1 can of beans with their liquid, can of diced tomatoes, and the reserved shrimp stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes.
4. Reduce heat to low. Add the shrimp. Cover the pan and cook gently for about five minutes until the shrimp are just cooked. Stir once during cooking.
5. Remove the skillet from the heat. Add a couple of tablespoons of pesto or some shredded fresh basil along with the lemon zest and juice. Stir to combine. Serve as is, or over rice.