24 October 2011


Beans of all kinds are a staple of the Italian diet.  Today I was in the mood to experiment with a different vegetable.  At Mercato Centrale, I asked my fruttivendolo (greengrocer) the difference between the string beans and the serpenti beans, which look like a skinnier, longer (~18 inches long) version of string beans. He explained that the serpenti beans are much more flavorful and a Tuscan specialty this time of year. Sounded precisely what I was looking for.

He then taught me how to prepare them, and now I will share with you the simple instructions for these delicious beans.

one bunch of serpenti beans or green beans
2 or 3 cloves of garlic
an abundance of ripe cherry tomatoes
sea salt

Break off and discard the tips of the beans.  Then break into semi equal size in thirds.  Wash the beans
Boil a pot of water with sea salt.  Throw the beans in the boiling water for about 20 mins.

In another pot, with a little olive oil, place the tomatoes cut in half into the pan.  Add sea salt.  Add garlic.  In this case, crush the garlic with your hands and break the cloves into four or five pieces instead of mincing or chopping it. Add chopped onion.  Simmer.  To allow the tomatoes to reduce, I let it simmer while the beans were boiling.

Drain the beans but reserve some of the water to add to the sauce as the liquid evaporates.

Add the beans.  Simmer five minutes with another clove of garlic if you, like me, can't get enough garlic.  Add some of the reserved water, if necessary.

Enjoy.  I just did.  Yummy.

I would also steam brown rice or add a protein of my choice if I wanted to make this into a healthful and complete meal. A friend from San Francisco visits Firenze, and we will eat out tonight, which made this small meal a fun experiment in my kitchen. Now I have another yummy vegetable dish for the winter months.

1 comment:

  1. Josslyn, this looks amazing!! I am hungry again and I just ate! We make a similar dish in my culture. Nothing added, but sauté the green beans with the onions and garlic for about 20 minutes before adding the tomatoes. We also simmer until most is the water has evaporated. Simple salt, fresh ground pepper and some warm pita bread to scoop and eat! Buon appetito!