fb-pixel Skip to main content
THE CONFIDENT COOK

Recipe: Stretch shrimp with budget-friendly white beans in this flavorful skillet dinner

Shrimp and White Bean Skillet Dinner.Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Serves 4

Everyone is trying to stretch a dollar as far as it will go these days (not very far!), and that often means turning to a reliably inexpensive source of protein such as beans. In this skillet dish, beans stretch a pound of shrimp -- buy the cheaper medium size -- into dinner for four. Dried are the cheapest form of the beans, but canned, called for here, are still a budget-friendly option and, of course, considerably quicker. To substitute dried beans for the two cans in this recipe, cook about 8 ounces (1 cup) dried cannellini or other white beans according to package directions. Smaller shrimp cost less than jumbos because it takes longer to grow the big ones, and there's more demand for them. Wild caught shrimp, no matter the size, are always pricier than farm-raised. Medium shrimp, defrosted if bought frozen, are the best choice here since their size pairs well with the beans. The dish is loaded with flavor from a tomato sofrito, a concentrated base that makes the briny shrimp and earthy beans stand out. Start with onion, garlic, and thyme to season chopped plum tomatoes, and cook them down into a thick paste. Then, when the beans and shrimp have simmered with the sofrito, add more fresh tomatoes with lemon juice and parsley to brighten the dish. This simple skillet dinner comes together in a jiffy, is easy on the wallet, and still feels elegant, wins we all can use right now.

3tablespoons olive oil
1pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
1 onion, chopped
4cloves garlic, finely chopped
1tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 plum tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
2cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained
1cup water
1tablespoon butter
Grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
¼cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Working in batches, if necessary, add the shrimp, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink on one side and barely beginning to brown. Transfer to a plate.

2. Lower the heat to medium, and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onion softens. Add the garlic and thyme, and cook, stirring, 1 minute more.

3. Add half of the tomatoes. Cook, stirring often, breaking up the tomatoes with a kitchen spoon, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture forms a thick paste.

4. Add the beans and water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

5. Add the shrimp and remaining tomatoes to the skillet. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through. Remove the skillet from the heat.

6. Stir in the butter, lemon rind and juice, half the parsley, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the remaining parsley.

Karoline Boehm Goodnick

Serves 4

Everyone is trying to stretch a dollar as far as it will go these days (not very far!), and that often means turning to a reliably inexpensive source of protein such as beans. In this skillet dish, beans stretch a pound of shrimp -- buy the cheaper medium size -- into dinner for four. Dried are the cheapest form of the beans, but canned, called for here, are still a budget-friendly option and, of course, considerably quicker. To substitute dried beans for the two cans in this recipe, cook about 8 ounces (1 cup) dried cannellini or other white beans according to package directions. Smaller shrimp cost less than jumbos because it takes longer to grow the big ones, and there's more demand for them. Wild caught shrimp, no matter the size, are always pricier than farm-raised. Medium shrimp, defrosted if bought frozen, are the best choice here since their size pairs well with the beans. The dish is loaded with flavor from a tomato sofrito, a concentrated base that makes the briny shrimp and earthy beans stand out. Start with onion, garlic, and thyme to season chopped plum tomatoes, and cook them down into a thick paste. Then, when the beans and shrimp have simmered with the sofrito, add more fresh tomatoes with lemon juice and parsley to brighten the dish. This simple skillet dinner comes together in a jiffy, is easy on the wallet, and still feels elegant, wins we all can use right now.

3tablespoons olive oil
1pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails removed
1 onion, chopped
4cloves garlic, finely chopped
1tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
3 plum tomatoes, cored and coarsely chopped
2cans (15 ounces each) cannellini beans, drained
1cup water
1tablespoon butter
Grated rind and juice of 1/2 lemon
¼cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper, to taste

1. In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat the oil. Working in batches, if necessary, add the shrimp, and cook for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the shrimp are pink on one side and barely beginning to brown. Transfer to a plate.

2. Lower the heat to medium, and add the onion. Cook, stirring often, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the onion softens. Add the garlic and thyme, and cook, stirring, 1 minute more.

3. Add half of the tomatoes. Cook, stirring often, breaking up the tomatoes with a kitchen spoon, for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the mixture forms a thick paste.

4. Add the beans and water. Bring to a boil, lower the heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes.

5. Add the shrimp and remaining tomatoes to the skillet. Turn the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 3 to 5 minutes, or until the shrimp are cooked through. Remove the skillet from the heat.

6. Stir in the butter, lemon rind and juice, half the parsley, and a generous pinch each of salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and garnish with the remaining parsley.Karoline Boehm Goodnick