The broad, flat, edible-pod Romano bean is also known as an Italian green bean, and as such, it’s often subjected to the thorough cooking Italians favor when it comes to vegetables, a realm where al dente rarely applies. Ever the traditionalist, Hearth’s Marco Canora slow-braises his Greenmarket specimens into soft, succulent submission. In this, Canora emphasizes, as in all things, patience is a virtue. And if you’ve never hand-crushed a ripe tomato before, you’re in for a treat.
Marco Canora’s Braised Romano Beans
1 large red onion
2 stalks of celery
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
5 hand-crushed Roma tomatoes (or 1 12-oz. can crushed tomatoes)
1 1/2 lbs. Romano beans
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 cup chopped basil
(1) Trim stem end of beans and cut larger ones in half. Set aside. (2) Finely chop the onion, celery, and carrot, and sauté them in olive oil with tomatoes for about 20 minutes until the soffritto, or sautéed vegetable mixture, turns pale gold. (3) Add Romano beans gradually and stir to coat well. Cover and cook over low heat, adding a couple of tablespoons of water if the mixture appears too dry. Cook for about 40 minutes, or until very soft but not falling apart. Season with salt and pepper, and finish with chopped basil.