braised romano beans

About a month ago, I told you that tomato season is the highlight of my culinary year, or at least the highlight of the parts I can buy at a Greenmarket. And then I went on about slow-roasted tomatoes for a few paragraphs and proceeded to leave you right there. At slow-roasted tomatoes. Because you know what? Once you discover them, you might lose the few weeks that follow.

romano beans

But eventually, you get into what I call Tomato Season, Phase 2. This means you’ve already had a month of slow-roasted and simply dressed tomato salads, and you’re ready to actually use tomatoes as an ingredient again. You get curious. You forget that you’ve got interminable months ahead of dry, flavorless, pink-hued cotton-like tomatoes, believing that there are enough tomatoes to last you until spring. I’ve got four recipes like this in the queue.

innardsknife workbasebraising

I’m going to confess something here: I didn’t even know what romano beans were before the New York Times ran a recipe for them last month in a wonderful article about simple Tuscan cooking; I only knew I had yet to meet a bean I didn’t like. Sort of broad and longer than snap peas, they’re also tougher and require a longer cooking time. Slow-braising is the perfect way to cook them, because they get soft and almost meaty, while drinking up whatever flavors you put in the pot. Slow-braising vegetables is also one of those perfect things to do when you’re transitioning from summer non-cooking to a winter of heavy-lidded stews.

braised romano beans

In this case, I used a cup of the leftover tomato innards I had scooped out for the pasta salad stuffed tomatoes a few days before, but since I wasn’t mad about that recipe, I think you can use any finely-chopped tomato. They were so much more flavorful than the canned variety, but I suppose that goes without saying. It wasn’t pretty–green beans cooked with acidic ingredients always turn an unfortunate brownish color–but it was so delicious, I wish I had more right now.

Romano beans, elsewhere: Russ Parsons’s Braised Romano Beans with Cherry Tomatoes (Wednesday Chef), Zuni-braised Romano Beans (Swirling Notions) and Garlicky Romano Beans (Veggie Venture)

One year ago: Tortilla de Patatas

Two years ago: Summer Squash Soup with Parsley-Mint Pistou

Braised Romano Beans
Adapted from Laura Sbrana via The NYTimes 08/12/08

Time: 1 1/2 hours

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup minced celery
1/2 cup minced carrot
1 cup minced red onion
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 sprigs fresh rosemary
1 teaspoon tomato paste
1 cup peeled, crushed ripe tomatoes, preferably plum tomatoes, with their juices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 1/2 pounds romano beans (flat green beans), ends trimmed (or fresh cranberry beans in their shells).

1. Heat oil in a deep skillet or a shallow three-quart saucepan. Add celery, carrot and onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until vegetables barely begin to brown, about 25 minutes. Add garlic and rosemary and cook until fragrant, a few minutes. Stir in tomato paste and tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Season with salt and pepper. Simmer until mixture is well combined, about 5 minutes.

2. Add beans, setting them in pan all in one direction. Add 1/2 cup water. Bring to a simmer. Baste beans, season with salt, reduce heat to low. Cook gently, partly covered, turning beans in sauce from time to time, until beans are very tender, about 40 minutes. Adjust seasoning and serve hot or at room temperature.

Yield: 6 servings.

42 comments on braised romano beans

  1. Looks super yummy, I never seem or heard of romano beans, I’ll have to give them a try! This recipe would be a perfect substitute for green bean casserole on Thanksgiving!

  2. Diane in Cincinnati

    Those look so good!

    Is anyone else having problems with your RUme give-away post? It makes my computer cry, scream and freeze! When you post the winners, please don’t do it on that original post!


  3. Saw these crop up in Flickr earlier and couldn’t wait for you to post — because I’m the #1 fan of Romano beans. But here’s something interesting: according to my bean/tomato/garlic/etc farmer-man, Romano beans actually are more tender and take less time to cook — and that’s been my experience and that of a friend I’ve turned onto them too. Go figure!

    PS I’ve only seen Romanos at farmers markets and even then, they go fast because the fans snatch them up, pronto.

  4. I made the slow-cooked beans after the Times article about, um, slow-cooked green beans, but didn’t realize I was using SHELL BEANS from my CSA. You can see the slightly odd results here.

    It is a testament to the method that even the shells of shell beans, which are usually discarded, were delicious when cooked this way! That recipe was for any green beans, not just romano, so might be a good one to try if you can’t get your mitts on romano beans!

  5. I read that article too, but I have yet to see the beans in my farmers’ market. I wonder if this would work with green beans…

    PS@ Cakehouse – I TOTALLY made the dimply plum cake last night too!

  6. britta

    I know this post is about beans, but everyone keeps talking about the dimply plum cake! I’m not a huge plum fan but I think I have to give in and make it already.

  7. I love Romano beans. The last time I did anything with them, I french cut them and boiled, served with bacon. This looks fantastic though. Nice stuff.

  8. Susan

    Those beans look like the cut Italian Green Beans (C&W brand) that I buy frozen. They may not be, they may only be pole beans, but are called Italian Beans. Anyway..I cut them into 1 inch segments and add it to the tomato sauce I make for Lasagna. I love the added texture. They do stand up well to longer cooking.

  9. Ada

    @ Alanna – I was surprised that Deb said these need longer cooking, since I usually steam them for about 10 minutes, or till they’re bright green. They’re perfect with just a drizzle of olive oil and some salt.

    And yes, I’ve only seen them at the farmer’s market, and they are sold out within a couple of hours of the market opening!

  10. I took your food blog survey and was astonished at the number of people who took the questionnaire! Over 2,000. It made me aware of how much I don’t realize the scale of food blogs and who uses them for cooking. It is a great resource. Do you have any ideas for how I can see who has visited my blog and possible put up a survey as well. I’m a little bit of a rookie in that department. Thanks!

  11. Carol from Bama

    If you want some great beans, you need to try and get your hands on some purple green beans, or as we know them down here, rattlesnake beans. My in-laws grow them and they cook up sooooo tender and tastey. Good thing I have some in the fridge right now…these look so good and inspiring!

  12. Elizabeth

    These remind me of Italian beans just the way my dad makes them,though we are not Italian. Dad hails from New Orleans. Inexpensive, but delish!

  13. I don’t think I’ve cooked with romano beans either. Can you sauté them too like with haricot verts? I remember going a woman at the local wet market telling me once that white long beans are only good for braising.

  14. Well, we make them a lot like that in Greece. They are so everyday, that I never thought of posting about them on my blog!We only use tomato, olive oil, garlic and onion, sometimes a bit of parsley or red bell pepper. Enjoy them with feta cheese and loads of bread to mop up juices.

  15. Oh Bravo! In Spain we make them similar. We cook them into salty water for several minutes and put them in a frying pan with some olive oil and fresh tomato and pepper. Afterwards, we put them under a cap of mash of potato, herbs, grated cheese and butter, and put into the oven (with grill) during 30 minutes. It’s very easy. Great pictures!

  16. Nice use of these beans. I grew them a couple of summers ago and my daughter just loved them. The only way I ever made them, however, was to boil them, drain, then sear in a pan with good olive oil and finish with fleur de sel.

  17. Linda

    Adding my vote that the Delight-ful post totally freezes up whether using AOL or IE. What a bummer, although I enjoyed the first 1,000 entries, LOL.

  18. I didn’t grow up eating beans, so I’m always a little wary of them, except for hummus and chili, which I’ve learned to appreciate. Although anything that has garlic, tomatoes and rosemary definitely gets my attention right away! :)

  19. Nadia

    I have a suggestion for a food idea, I know you have tons of those, but what about a cuban sandwich with grilled chicken breast and plantain? Wouldn’t that be yummy? Hmmm.

    P.S. love your site, made the blueberry buttermilk pancakes last week, and they were definitely a hit!

  20. Annabel

    I love those beans! Here is another great way to prepare them, very similar to your recipe but with a different taste. It’s a popular turkish meze and simply to die for! Just omit the celery, carrot and rosmary, put in some chili powder, sugar (just a bit), some pieces of lemon peel and some extra olive oil. It’s delicious eaten warm but even better when cold or at room temperature. And you simply have to have some good white bread to mop up the juices!

  21. wes

    It’s good to know that not everything you make looks fabulous. For me it’s all about the taste, and some of the things I make while tasting good, are not the things that make for beautiful pictures .

  22. Holey

    I’ve made this recipe a couple of times now, and it’s delicious. Thank you for posting it!

  23. Bill

    Have a 50 ft row of Roma’s ready for first picking tomorrow. Look forward to trying your idea. Thanks

  24. Terry

    An excellent preparation for Romano beans! Very flavorful. Used farm fresh beans and braised them for longer than I thought reasonable, but they were tender with great texture. Thanks!

  25. Kimberly O

    We got some Romano beans in our CSA basket, and I didn’t know what to do with them. Thanks for the great idea, they were delicious! We braised the beans for much less time – maybe only 6-7 minutes, and thought the texture was perfect…I feared that any longer and they would become mush.

  26. Priscilla

    Have you had any experience with braising the beans, and then freezing them? I just picked a ton of them and we like them braised, but can’t eat them all now.

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