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Chile-Spiked Shrimp and Beans with Basil and Pistachios: Onward

October 2nd, 2012

I started throwing lots of things away recently. Old magazines, high school t-shirts I’ve been holding onto since — well — high school, pre-adulthood bank statements, and little trinkets I didn’t even realize I still had. I’d always thought that the reason I never got rid of these sorts of things was because I was sentimental, practical, or both. But I recently realized that I’d mostly been holding onto things because I never had a good reason to throw them away. Once things started going into the trash, I was taken aback by my reaction: I was relieved to see the empty shelves in my closet, and I didn’t shed a tear for any of the items that got booted out.

I’m certainly not what you’d call a minimalist, but I think I value a few things much more than I value most things. I’m rarely attached to my clothes or accessories, unless they are mementos of people or places. And I’m not really into gadgets. The only collections I have are mostly digital — photos and writings. I have an extensive selection of spices, but I’d hardly claim attachment to them, knowing they are all so replaceable. Even books, which I value so much in our house, tend to lose their physical value over time for me, and I have no problem sharing them, donating them, or leaving them out on the street for a curious soul. You learn these things about yourself when you start throwing things away.

With the impending arrival of our little one, I’m starting to clean in a way I’ve never cleaned before, and I’m asking myself: why has it taken me so long?

If there is one space in the house where the hoarder in me comes out, it would certainly be my pantry, where I seem to save — for years — everything from bay leaves that no longer have any semblance of flavor to dried lasagna sheets that were last used when I still lived with my roommate and not Matt. With food, my opinion has always been: “Well, I might eat it one day.” If you’re like me, you may find yourself with a collection of canned or dried beans or little ziplock baggies filled with nuts. If so, this is a pantry recipe that’s made for you. It’s cobbled together using primarily items you probably have stocked in your pantry: beans, peppers, canned tomatoes, tomato paste. Despite the beautiful Indian Summer we’re having here in San Francisco (which I can already feel is starting to fade as quickly as it came), this was the first recipe I was drawn to in the October issue of Bon Appetit. Inspired by some of the pasta dishes we sampled in Sicily, I threw in a twist by sprinkling the dish with freshly-chopped basil and pistachios. For anyone who received the August Pairings Box, you’ll want to bookmark this recipe, which features your Premium ingredient: chiles de arbol.

Chile-Spiked Shrimp and Beans with Basil and Pistachios
adapted from the October issue of Bon Appetit
*serves four

4 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for garnish
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 dried chiles de arbol*
1 bay leaf
8 ounces of diced tomato (I used San Marzano)
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
2 15-ounce cans of canellini beans rinsed and drained, or equivalent of cooked dried beans
1 cup of chicken broth (sub vegetable broth if serving pescatarians)
1 pound of medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 teaspoon of smoked paprika
3 tablespoons of chopped basil
1/4 cup of roughly chopped pistachios
baguette, to serve

*Chiles de Arbol were the Premium ingredient featured in the August Pairings Box. We are now accepting subscribers beginning with the October Pairings Box. Sign up by October 14th!

1. Preheat your broiler. Heat two tablespoons of olive oil in a large over-proof skillet over medium-high. Add half of the minced garlic, chiles and bay leaf. Cook for a few minutes, stirring, until you can smell the garlic and chili (be careful not to burn the garlic).
2. Add diced tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, and continue cooking for another 5 minutes.
3. Stir in the tomato paste, cooking for 3-4 minutes, or until the paste deepens in color. Next, stir in the beans and broth.
4. Lower the heat to achieve a brisk simmer and cook for another 3-4 minutes, or until thickened. Season with additional salt and pepper, as needed.
5. Place the shrimp, rest of the garlic, two tablespoons of oil, and paprika in a medium bowl. Season with salt and pepper and mix to coat the shrimp.
6. Arrange the shrimp over the beans in one layer. Transfer the skillet to the oven and broil until the shrimp are completely cooked through (about 3 minutes).
7. Serve in bowls with a side of baguette, to sop up the juices. Garnish with freshly-chopped basil and pistachios. Drizzle each bowl with additional oil, if desired.

Musical Pairings: Dum Dum Girls – End of Daze + Chile-Spiked Shrimp and Beans with Basil and Pistachios

 More on the Turntable.


  • http://londonbakes.blogspot.com Kathryn

    I’ve been doing something similar recently – I realised when we were away for so long that I didn’t need so much stuff in my life and it was just weighing me down. I do have a bit of a pantry problem though, heightened by the fact that I have no space so dry goods are invading every corner of the kitchen. This is an excellent way to do some kitchen de-cluttering.

  • http://twitter.com/SLadenburger Stacy Ladenburger

    That kind of cleaning is so liberating. I did something quite similar prior to the cross-country move. For better or worse, I also cleaned out my pantry and gave away much that I’d stored over the past several years. I’m still building the spice and flour collections back up…

  • http://www.ladomestique.com Jess O’Toole

    Shrimp in a spicy tomato sauce is a frequent supper at our house, but I’m going to have to make it with beans next time for a bit more autumn heft. Holding on to what’s important and letting go what’s not is something I contemplate often. It’s so cute that you’re nesting!

  • http://hampiesandwiches.blogspot.com/ Eileen

    This looks so hearty and delicious! I love the pseudo-pesto sprinkle at the end. :)

  • Jeanine

    yum – I especially love your addition of the pistachios!

  • Nicole

    I’ve been purging too, and it feels great! I marked this recipe to try when I read through the issue — glad to see it’s a winner. As soon as the heat dies down, I’m making this!

  • kickpleat

    This is a gorgeous looking dish! As for purging and cleaning, I’m all about it. It’s funny how a move or a big change makes you take stock of what is really important and what you hold dear.

  • http://twitter.com/MyFoodThoughts Brian Samuels

    Ok.. I need this in my life. The shrimp and the pistachios and the spiciness… yes, this looks like a dish that’s right up my alley!

  • Emily : Rainbowdelicious.com

    I’ve been craving shrimp lately and this looks delicious! I think even my picky three year old would eat this because she is obsessed with pistachios!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    I do think being away from home reminds you of just how little you need in life. I think we all have a bit of a pantry problem, though :)

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    If you’re building up your pantry, you should totally check out Rainbow Grocery in SF (if you haven’t already). They have the most fabulous collection of spices, all in bulk, so you can buy just what you need and stock up on functional containers to boot.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    I guess you could call it nesting! Though, I think it’s more of a fear that we won’t have enough space once our 3rd family member arrives (we live in an apartment with limited storage options). It’s always fun to see what people’s ‘everyday’ meals are – shrimp are a staple at our house, too.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thanks, Eileen! The pistachios really do add a unique twist, in my opinion.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thanks, Jeanine! I have been adding pistachios to everything lately! Did you see the recipe in Bon Appetit for pistachio pesto? I totally want to make some!

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Yay for purging! We’re actually experiencing quite the heat wave here in SF, but I can’t say it’s preventing me from eating big bowls of hearty food…guess it just means I’m ready for fall :)

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Thanks, J! I think any big change makes you look into the crevices of your drawers and ask yourself, just how much does this mean to me? The nice thing is that you’re right, it also helps you spotlight what is really important.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    It’s all there! Definitely going to be a new regular at our house.

  • http://www.turntablekitchen.com Kasey

    Hi Emily – yes, definitely! I don’t find the spiciness to be too overwhelming, but if you’re cooking for a picky child, you may want to consider omitting the pepper. Enjoy!

  • sarah kieffer

    Oh, I am a boarder-line hoarder. You’ve inspired me to take a look in all those boxes in my basement, collecting dust. And, I have way too many bags of dried beans and rice and pasta and everything! This looks like a perfect way to use them all.

  • http://twitter.com/MikeVFMK Michael

    This is the kind of weekday meal that would find its way to our dinner table. It has all the wonderful flavours we love in food and the combination of ingredients sounds heavenly. I’m late to the party, but congrats on the news of your impending arrival. I can only imagine how wonderful that is.

  • http://www.biggirlssmallkitchen.com/ BGSK

    A meal that would go over seriously well in my house. Perhaps over those 3-year-old lasagna noodles? I have them in my pantry too.

  • http://twitter.com/edibleliving Sarah Copeland

    You have me at pistachios!

  • WithStyleGrace

    Such a beautiful meal! This post made me laugh. I did the same thing when we first moved, throwing or giving away TONS of things that I/my husband had been holding on to. Being practical with what we kept before we start into our next adventure with baby & all the things that come along with them ;)

  • http://www.ohladycakes.com/ Ashlae W.

    My guy is a borderline hoarder, I am the complete opposite; I have attachment to very few things. But when it comes to the pantry? Holy cow. I’ve got dried up vanilla beans (what a shame), 4 bags of cacao powder, an assortment of dried fruits I’ll probably never use.. the madness never ends. In other news, this meal looks delicious. I’ve recently started eating eggs/meat again, and this recipe is going on the must make list.