Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Italian String Beans

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Momma likes vegetables but they need a little jolt to awaken their flavor.

Momma Explains: Vegetables are an important part of our diet but cooked vegetables lose a little flavor in the cooking process. That is why raw vegetables seem to be tastier. However, cooked vegetables can have some zing if you do two important things.
First: Always cook the vegetables to just done, in other words, they still have crunch but enough give to taste cooked. The cooking time will vary for each vegetable so just like pasta, you will need to taste them every few minutes to determine when they are done. Start with boiling water, then add the vegetable, if you are boiling. If braising or grilling, always get your pan/grill up to temperature prior to adding vegetables.
Second: Use good quality fresh or frozen vegetables and some appropriate spice combination. Garlic or onion or tomato are very vegetable friendly. You can play around with different seasonings. Sometimes, I use the same seasonings on my vegetables as I do in my meat or meat marinade.
Here is one of my favorite string bean recipes, my mother-in-law taught me this . It was a favorite in little italy. Try a nice Sicilian red or one from Puglia. I have found several bargains from Italy lately., so check with your local wine merchant.

Josephine's Italian String Beans
Fry up a pound of thin sliced bacon, drain off most of the fat but save about three tablespoons .Put the three tablespoons of bacon fat into a large pot.Cut bacon slices in half and set aside.
In the three tablespoons of fat , slowly cook one small chopped onion. When cooked add 1 to 1 and 1/2 pounds cleaned fresh or frozen, whole green beans to the onion,and the cut, cooked bacon, stir so all the string beans get coated. After coating let simmer a couple of minutes, stir often. Then add one jar of your favorite tomato sauce or about three cups of your homemade sauce. Add some salt and pepper, but not much as the bacon has salt. You can check the flavor after about 5 minutes and add more salt then if necessary. Let the string beans simmer till just past crunchy. Taste and add salt or pepper. Turn off stove,then let sit in hot gravy and they will cook more. Serve with a simple steak or pot roast.

ake about 1 and 1/2 pounds cleaned fresh or frozen green beans.

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