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Insalata di Gamberi e Cannellini - Tuscan Shrimp and Cannelinni Beans

This recipe comes from Carmelita Caruana. Carmelita is just passionate about food, about the scents and flavours of food, about the pleasures of cooking and of eating in convivial company, about the use of the best possible ingredients in order to maximise those pleasures.

She believes everyone can learn to cook. She also believes that to cook well you need first to be greedy, and then you need a little patience and a lot of passion!

She started Cook Italy which organises cooking holidays in Italy in 1999 and though relatively new to the field, she is already having great success, travelling internationally to give talks and to run cooking classes. She appeared as guest chef on BBC 2 's Saturday Kitchen last year, cooking a Sicilian menu, and plans to be running occasional evening cookery classes in London. Her cook book is on the way!


20 large shrimp per person
200g drained cannellini beans
a squeeze of lemon (about half a lemon for 4 people)
12 basil leaves or if not available use fresh mint leaves
salt and pepper to finish

For the aromatic oil:
2 or 3 sprigs of rosemary
2 or 3 sprigs of sage
5 tbsp of good olive oil


  • Wash dry and chop the fresh leaves of basil or mint. Reserving some for garnish.
  • Peel and de-vein the shrimp, wash and dry then sauté in a tablespoon of olive oil.
  • Switch the flame off then add the lemon juice and the fresh herbs
  • Heat the good olive oil on low heat with the sprigs of rosemary and sage - you can bind these together with string if you like. Leave to infuse in the oil for 10 minutes or so on very low heat and make sure the oil does not get too hot.
  • At the end of 10 minutes turn the oil off and remove the herbs.
  • Heat the beans briefly through with a tablespoon of the aromatic oil.
  • Drain the beans, mix with the shrimp, season with salt and pepper and toss with the rest of the aromatic olive oil
  • Serve lukewarm or at room temperature


  • Beans are of course, practically synonymous with Tuscan cuisine. This combination of beans and shellfish or squid, in soups or starters is not at all uncommon on the coast, but unknown inland.
  • You can serve this on crostini of crisp toasted bread to make it a more substantial (but quick) main course for a summer lunch or supper, following it with a green salad and fresh fruit or ripe pears and Pecorino cheese.

Serves 4

Carmelita Caruana