Having a well stocked pantry pays off on those nights when you come home and you’re starving but want something a bit more than a peanut butter and banana sandwich for supper. If you maintain the pantry, the meals are never dull. Unless, of course, you want a dull meal. There are days when dull is good. But there are more days when dull is out of the question.
So the key is the pantry.
We always have a bag of raw tail-on shrimp in the freezer. Zucchini is another thing that lives in our fridge. It’s an amazing veggie. You gotta love something that can go in a sweet bread AND a stew for soft tacos…thank you, Jennifer! Black beans are yet another staple in this house. Actually, all kinds of beans. I use canned beans, mostly, because of the convenience. If I was an organized person, I would remember to soak and cook beans. But, alas, that’s just not one of my strong points. Arborio rice is another staple.
It works wonderfully as something you stir and stir and baby…and also in this recipe, where you throw it in and let the sauce baby it.
This is a combination recipe of a quick paella from Perla Meyers and a hankering for black beans, which tends to come over me on a regular basis.
Monday Night with Shrimp, Zucchini and Black Beans
Extra virgin olive oil
1 large Vidalia onion, cut in half then sliced
1 red bell pepper, sliced
3 cloves garlic, smashed and chopped
1 .5 tsp smoked hot Spanish paprika
2 zucchini, diced
1 14 ounce can diced organic tomatoes
1 .5 tsp dried French thyme
1.5 cups Arborio rice
2 cups chicken stock
½ pound to pound (depending on how hungry you are) raw shrimp, tail on ('cause that’s the best type of shrimp)
1 15.5 ounce can black beans, rinsed to get that gunk off of it
Fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Squeeze fresh lime
Heat oil in large skillet. Add the shrimp and sauté until just pink. Remove to bowl. Throw in sliced onion and let caramelize, about 10 minutes. Add a little extra oil as needed. Then add red bell pepper, garlic and herbs and let cook till soft. Add garlic, zucchini and the drained can of diced tomatoes and the black beans. Cover and let cook 10 minutes. Add rice and chicken broth. Stir well, reduce heat cover and cook about 25 minutes.
Sauté shrimp in pan with a bit of hot olive oil and when rice is done, add to pan and stir to blend. Serve with chopped Italian parsley on top and a squeeze of fresh lime. Serves 4 very generously.
Makes a righteous quesadilla the next day with a bit of goat cheese crumbled on top.