It’s the Season For Slow-Roasted Romano Beans

Romano beans turn ever so soft and juicy in the heat of the oven.
Romano beans turn ever so soft and juicy in the heat of the oven.

They look like green beans on steroids that have been run over by a Mack truck.

Now’s the time to get your fill of Romano beans.

Don’t let these sturdy flat beans fool you, though, into thinking you can cook them just like you would green beans.

These meaty beans do best when cooked for a much longer time beyond al dente.

Earlier this summer, I tried the Zuni Cafe method for “Long-Cooked Romano Beans” in which they’re gently cooked on the stovetop. It’s a super-easy and wonderfully delicious recipe. But it does require 2 hours of cooking time. And I’ll be the first to admit that there are days when time gets away from me, and I find myself with all of 1 hour to get dinner on the table.

Thankfully, I came across this alternative method for cooking them that takes only 40 minutes in the oven. “Slow-Roasted Romano Beans” is from “The A.O.C. Cookbook” (Alfred A. Knopf, 2013) by Suzanne Goin, the chef-owner of Los Angeles’ revered A.O.C. and the dearly departed Lucques restaurant.

An alum of Berkeley’s Chez Panisse, Goin has a skilled hand with most any ingredient, and especially seasonal produce.

This recipe calls for both yellow and green Romano beans. I used only green, because that’s what I had on hand. Same with using yellow onions instead of the red ones called for. I also made only half the recipe to accommodate my smaller stash of Romanos.

The oven does all the work here. You just need stir the beans now and then to make sure they cook evenly. They roast in a generous amount of olive oil with fresh thyme, sage and rosemary leaves perfuming them.

Everything gets roasted in one baking pan.
Everything gets roasted in one baking pan.

The onion wedges turn soft and sweet in the oven. You might just fight over the garlic slices, as their pungent bite gets tamed and they turn incredibly buttery.

The Romanos thoroughly soften and actually become juicy. Their edges get caramelized, and their natural sweetness magnified. They end up tasting like deeply concentrated green beans.

This is a superlative way to cook Romanos. So much so that you won’t be able to stop eating them.

The garlic cloves turn so irresistibly buttery that you might want to add extra to the pan.
The garlic cloves turn so irresistibly buttery that you might want to add extra to the pan.

Slow-Roasted Romano Beans

(Serves 6)

2 small red onions

6 large cloves garlic, peeled

2 1/2 pounds green and yellow Romano beans, stems removed, tails left on

1 tablespoon rosemary leaves

1 tablespoon sage leaves

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Peel the onions, trim the roots, but leave the root ends intact (this will keep the onions in wedges, rather than slices). Cut the onions lengthwise into 3 or 4 thick (about 1/3 inch) wedges. Slice the garlic cloves lengthwise into three or four thick slices each.

Toss all the remaining ingredients in a large bowl with 2 tablespoons salt and some freshly ground pepper. Transfer the beans to a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes or so, until the beans are completely wilted, shrunken, and concentrated in flavor, with a little caramelization around the edges. (You may need to stir more often toward the end, to keep the beans from browning too quickly.)

From “The A.O.C. Cookbook” by Suzanne Goin

Another Way to Cook Romano Beans: Long-Cooked Romano Beans by Judy Rodgers

More Suzanne Goin Recipes to Enjoy: Pork Cheeks with Polenta, Mustard Cream and Horseradish Gremolata

And: Lucques’ Grilled Pork Burger

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