Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Romano Beans in Olive Oil and Tomato sauce

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I love Spring with its beautiful sun, crisp warming breeze and all the exciting local vegetables and fruits that I find at the market. My trips to Whole Foods are sort of like an excursion for me. I'm like a kid in front of mountains of candy and chocolate. My heart starts racing and I get this tingle in my feet. I want to experiment and try new things. Is this normal? I wonder if any of you feel this way!

I love Romano beans, although they are hard to find. Pole beans are a good substitute and quite delicious too. This is a very simple vegetarian recipe that is fantastic on its own and can work great as an accompaniment to fish or chicken.

Typically, it is eaten cold in summer days with soft pita, olives, fresh slices of onions soaked in Arak water.



Romano Beans in Olive Oil and Tomato sauce

1 lb Romano/Pole beans
3 cups water
1 medium onion, diced
5-6 cloves garlic, whole
4 Tbsp extra virgin Olive oil
1 large tomato, dices
2 Tblsp tomato paste
1 tsp dried mint
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp white pepper

To prepare the beans, remove ends and cut into bite size pieces. (I like to snap them by hand, it is somewhat of a calming feeling). In a pot, bring the water to a simmer, add the cut beans into water and let boil gently for 15 minutes to soften a bit. Discard water and place the beans in a bowl and set aside.

In the same pot on medium heat, add olive oil, garlic and diced onions. Sautee for 3 minutes to soften the onions, add the diced tomatoes, tomato paste and 1 cup of water. Stir to dissolve the paste. Add salt, pepper, mint and the cut beans. Cover and let simmer gently for approximately 15-20 minutes, or until the beans are soft. Taste and adjust seasoning. Turn off heat and let cool.

Arak-soaked Onions

1 medium onion, quartered
1 cup water, iced (add a couple of ice cubes)
1 Tbsp Arak (Ouzo or Sambuka will work as well)

Soak onion for an hour. Eat slices with the cooked beans and pita.

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