Pepperoni and String beans

January  8, 2014
3 Ratings
  • Serves 4
Author Notes

You read that title, scratched your head, wrinkled your nose and said what?

No, this is not a joke.

This is pepperoni and string beans.

You’ve never heard of it?

I don’t think anyone outside of my dad’s family has really. It’s not an Italian dish. It’s not… well, I don’t think it’s any kind of dish.

Our guess is that my grandma had six hungry kids on her hands and only pepperoni, string beans and some tomato paste in the cabinets and she just shrugged and said, eh, why not?

Did I mention my grandma had six kids, no dishwasher and no driver’s license?

So if the kids were hungry and grandpa wasn’t home, whatever was in the house would have to become dinner. Somehow.

I’m guessing that’s how this concoction came into being.

My mom always makes this down the shore. I’ve never made it for my boyfriend before, not because I think that he’ll think it’s weird, but because I’ve never had it anywhere but down at our shore house.

Isn’t that weird?

There’s certain foods that have such a strong association with certain places that I just can’t imagine eating them anywhere else. —Jacky

What You'll Need
  • 2 15 oz cans of stringbeans
  • 1 6 oz can tomato paste
  • 1 stalk of pepperoni sliced
  • 18 ounces water
  1. There is pretty much one instruction for this recipe. Dump everything in a pot, cover with a lid and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally.
  2. The longer it simmers, the spicier the tomato broth gets as the pepperoni seeps into it. The next day it’s even spicier.
  3. To serve, spoon out big bowls and get some crusty bread ready for dipping.
  4. This recipe can easily be doubled or tripled for parties, superbowl or for leftovers

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Rica Giannino
    Rica Giannino
  • Colleen Delaporta Wells
    Colleen Delaporta Wells
  • msassi
  • JP

4 Reviews

msassi August 15, 2023
I literally searched pepperoni and green beans today so I could clear the fridge of both, and was shocked to find this recipe! We kind of tweaked the process; sauteed the pepperoni first then added the green beans to the pepperoni oil in the pan, and added tomato paste and cup or more of water. Simmered with cover on. Added some vinegar at the end and served with parmesan/pecorino mix. It wasn't too weird but anything to mask the green beans is good!
JP February 11, 2020
Im 58 and have been eating this since I was a small boy. It has to be an Italian thing.
Rica G. January 12, 2020
Make that another Italian family that makes it! My Grandma from Puglia, Foggia, made it frequently. I just finished a bowl that I made. She sometimes added potatoes. Now that was the best!
Colleen D. July 13, 2014
Believe it or not, my (very Italian) grandmother also made this dish! Same exact thing. I, too, have never met anyone else familiar with it! But I've been thinking about it lately, and I think it's time I whip up a batch and introduce my husband to this weirdly delicious (or deliciously weird?) concoction! Thanks for letting me know I'm not alone! LOL