Romano Beans with Tomatoes and Pancetta
Romano beans, long, flat, wide green beans sometimes labeled Italian beans, are the most common variety of snap bean in Italy. If you cannot find them in your market, regular green beans can be substituted.
- 2 oz. pancetta, chopped
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- 3 green onions, white and light green portions, thinly sliced
- 1/2 lb. fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or 1 can (14 oz.) chopped plum tomatoes with juices
- 1 lb. romano beans or green beans, ends trimmed
- Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
- 1 Tbs. finely chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
In a saucepan large enough to hold the beans, cook the pancetta over medium heat, stirring often, until crisp, about 5 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pancetta to paper towels to drain.
Add the olive oil to the fat remaining in the pan and heat over medium heat. Add the green onions and sauté until softened, about 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and simmer, stirring occasionally, until they reduce slightly, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the beans and sprinkle with salt and a few grinds of pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook until the beans are tender, about 15 minutes. Check often and add a few tablespoonfuls of hot water if the sauce looks dry. (The dish can be prepared up to this point, cooled, covered and refrigerated, and then reheated gently the next day. It will taste even better the second day.)
Stir in the pancetta, transfer to a warmed serving dish and sprinkle with the parsley. Serve immediately. Serves 6.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Essentials of Italian by Michele Scicolone (Oxmoor House, 2007).