Romano or flat green beans require a little more cooking than regular green beans. Stewing them in tomatoes and garlic tenderizes them and infuses them with flavor. We like this Italian preparation as a side dish with roasted chicken or with poached eggs for a savory breakfast. They are even good at room temperature topped with a little crumbled feta or ricotta salata. If you can’t find romanos, you can use regular green beans instead.
Serves 4 to six as a side dish
1 1/2 pounds Romano beans, trimmed and cut into 1 inch pieces
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes (optional)
3 cups peeled and diced tomatoes and their juices; preferably fresh Romas from market (see notes on how to peel tomatoes)
1 1/2 teaspoon salt, more to taste
freshly ground black pepper to taste
10 basil leaves
Bring a medium pot of water and 1 teaspoon salt to a boil. Add cut beans and boil for five minutes. Drain and set aside.
Over medium heat, heat oil in a large sauté pan, add garlic and once fragrant (about a minute; be sure not to brown) add optional chili flakes and the tomatoes. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down. Add the cooked beans, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, and stir to combine. Cook another 10 minutes or until the tomatoes are considerably reduced. Season with freshly grated black pepper and more salt, if need. Turn off heat.
Cut the basil into a chiffonade (stack the leaves, roll them tightly, and cut into very thin strips) and stir into tomato/bean stew. The leaves will darken pretty quickly, so if not serving immediately, and you want a pop of color, you can add another chiffonade of basil leaves right before serving.
To peel tomatoes, bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Cut an "X" into the bottom of each tomato. Working in batches of two or three tomatoes at time, drop them into boiling water for about a minute. Remove from water and when cool enough to handle, peel off the skin. With this dish you can use the same pot of salted water to peel tomatoes and boil cut beans; just do the tomatoes first.