it turns out that i love green beans. they are another entry in the category of “vegetables i thought i hated” (let me save you the suspense: when i was little (read: until sometime in college), i hated nearly every vegetable. even the really delicious ones!). i hasten to add, however, that even now, i only like green beans fresh. canned and frozen are wretched. but fresh. yum! also, kiiiiind of a pain to prep, cutting off all of those ends. which means that when i make green beans, i want them to be extra delicious.
enter…this recipe! green beans with sautéed shallots, pecorino romano, and fresh basil. this combination definitely qualifies as extra delicious and is absolutely worth all of the time it takes to snip those little end bits off of the green beans. the beans retain some crunch, the shallots are a bit sweet, the cheese salty, and the basil just fresh and good.
this recipe is also easy and fast, once the green beans have been trimmed. the original recipe called for frying the shallots, which i dutifully, if skeptically, tried the first time i made this. good news friends: there’s no need to fry the shallots! they are equally (even more?) delicious and much easier when you sauté them. laziness for the win!
speaking of laziness, don’t go too crazy measuring out ingredients for this recipe. now is probably a good time to tell you about “the amount”. as in, when my husband is helping me make dinner and asks how much cheese to put in our quesadillas and i respond with, “you know, the amount”. or when he asks how much tomato sauce to heat up for pasta – again, the answer is invariably, “you know, the amount”. clearly “the amount” is not an appropriate unit of measurement for a layer cake or croissant recipe but for something like this, “the amount” will be just fine. as long as you have more green beans than all of the rest of the ingredients combined and not tooooo much salty cheese, your green beans will be yummy.
using “the amount” also makes it relatively easy to scale the recipe quantity up and down. basically, i buy as many green beans as i can possibly convince myself to trim, knowing they will be so delicious when i am done, then i grab a handful of shallots, a bunch of basil, and make sure that i’m not running low on pecorino romano. aaaand done. invariably the biggest problem is that as i finish the last bites of these green beans, i wish former kate had been more willing to trim ends off of green beans for current kate to enjoy.
- 24 oz. (680 g. / 1.5 pounds) green beans, ends trimmed and beans cut in half crosswise (or in thirds if they are really long – the goal is pieces that will fit in your mouth)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium shallots, thinly sliced
- 2 oz. (57 g. / ~ 1/3 cup) pecorino romano cheese, diced
- 1/2 oz. (15 g. / 1/4 cup) basil, cut into ribbons
- fill a large pot with 2 – 3″ of water and bring to a boil. boil the green beans for about 2 minutes until just short of your desired level of tenderness (i like mine to have a tiny bit of crunch left). drain and run cold water over the beans, stirring them around so they all get cooled, then drain and set aside.
- in a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. once it’s hot, add the shallots and sauté for a few minutes until starting to soften but not brown yet. add the beans (watch for splatters!) and increase the heat to medium-high. cook for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. you want the beans and shallots to develop some brown spots but no black spots.
- remove from heat and put the beans and shallots in a large serving bowl. add cheese and basil then toss gently to combine. alternatively, you can serve the beans and shallots directly onto your plates and then top with cheese and basil. i just don’t recommend adding the cheese and basil to the cooking pan because the residual heat will melt/wilt them a little bit.
adapted from the boston globe’s green beans with fried shallots, pecorino, and basil, which was adapted from “modern mediterranean”