I share what I grow to pay back the kindnesses of friends and neighbors. A very long time ago, an Italian "friend" was quite excited to receive a few quarts of Romano beans and told me she'd give me a taste of the special way she cooked them. Sure enough, the next day, she came over with a sample--two very delicious still-warm beans steeped in olive oil, but she would not share the recipe because one day, these beans would make her rich and famous. Thirty years later, that hasn't happened, but she still refuses to give up the recipe, saying only that they were Italian in three ways. This is what I came up with: The Italian Romano beans are cooked in a sort-of Italian dressing and evoke the colors of the Italian flag with the red peppers and white cheese. (Reserve the oil from the skillet for another use, preferably for Italian Potato Salad.) - betteirene —betteirene
Test Kitchen Notes
Cooking the beans in garlic-infused oil gives them a great complex, subtle flavor. The final blast of lemon zest and yummy sweet roasted peppers are perfect. Try serving the still warm beans as a side dish for your favorite grilled meat. - Stephanie —The Editors
light olive oil
fat clove of garlic, sliced very thinly.
sea salt, preferably Maldon
dried oregano leaves
dried red pepper flakes
yellow or green Romano beans, preferred, or green or yellow string beans, stem ends removed
coarse-ground black pepper
shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, Parmesan, Romano, or aged Asiago
Pour the olive oil into a cold skillet and add the sliced garlic. Cook over very low heat until the garlic becomes fragrant and loses its sharpness. Remove from heat.
Zest the lemons and set the zest aside. Juice both lemons and stir the juice into the warmed olive oil. Add the vinegar, salt, sugar, oregano, and red pepper flakes.
Bring one quart of water to a boil in a large saucepan. Add the beans, return to a boil, turn heat to medium and cook for 3-5 minutes. Beans should be brightly colored but not cooked through.
With a slotted spoon, remove beans from water and add to the olive oil in the skillet. Over medium-low heat, cook the beans until they're cooked through but not mushy, tasting one periodically to determine when they're done to your liking, up to 20 minutes depending on the meatiness of the beans. Remove from heat.
Meanwhile, roast the red pepper over an open flame until charred and blistered. When cool enough to handle, remove as much of the skin as possible, along with the stem and the core. Slice the pepper into strips roughly the same size as the beans, and add to the beans in the skillet.
Remove beans and peppers from the oil with a slotted spoon to a serving bowl. Sprinkle with pepper, half the reserved lemon zest and the cheese; toss and serve.