Romano beans with tomatoes and cannellini are flavored with garlic and olives in this easy dish that’s perfect for midsummer. These tasty flat green beans are more likely to be found at farm markets in private gardens, so if you happen to come upon them, you’re in luck!
What are Romano beans? Of Italian origin, Romano beans are also called Italian flat beans or Italian pole beans. They’re a lot like the more common green bean, but flatter, and at their best are tender and sweet with a milder flavor. You can absolutely substitute regular green beans in this dish.
A friend of mine grows them in his garden, and since, like many garden goods, they’re all ripe and ready to pick at once, he shares his surplus. Since I don’t come across them too often, I haven’t worked with them much, but I can tell you that they’re excellent in simple midsummer dishes like this simple sauté.
If you pick them young enough, Romano beans also be used raw. Just trim the tips and cut into bite-sized segments to add to salads. In all other dishes, they need only the briefest of cooking time, since you want to retain their crunch and flavor.
- 12 to 16 ounces fresh Romano beans (Italian flat beans; see Note)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
- 3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 12 to 16 ounces flavorful ripe tomatoes, diced
- 1/2 cup sliced black olives
- 3 cups cooked or two 15-ounce cans (drained and rinsed) cannellini beans
- 2 teaspoons sweet paprika
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano leaves, or 1/2 teaspoon dried
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice, or to taste
- Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
- Trim the tips from the Romano beans and cut longer ones in half.
- Heat half of the oil in a stir-fry pan or wide skillet. Add the garlic and sauté for a minute or two, until it starts to turn golden.
- Add the Romano beans and sauté, stirring, for another 2 to 3 minutes, until tender-crisp.
- Add the remaining ingredients along with the remaining olive oil and continue to sauté just until everything is nicely heated through. Don’t overcook!
- Serve at once, straight from the pan.
You can swap in regular green beans, prepared in the same way, for the Romano beans.
- To make this a heftier dish, serve over hot cooked grains — rice, farro, or quinoa.
- Use pink beans in place of cannellini.
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