This recipe was contributed by Rosalba Gioffré from the cookbook Vegano Italiano (Countryman Press, 2017).
The romano bean is sometimes hard to find, but if you do come across it in stores, it's definitely worth a try. They're typically eaten as a side dish, but this recipe incorporates them into hearty spaghetti. In southern Italy, this pairing is par for the course; this recipe is a traditional version and is extremely satisfying.
If you can't seem to find romano beans, snap peas work well as a replacement.
- 2 Pounds romano beans or snap peas
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 6 ripe tomatoes, diced
- A few basil leaves
- 1 Tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 large white potatoes, diced
- 2 zucchini, cut into rounds
- 1/2 Pound spaghetti, broken in two
Trim the beans. If they are the flat and long, cut them into two or three pieces.
Fill a large pot one-third with water and bring to a boil. When it boils, add the beans, one of the garlic cloves, one-sixth of the diced tomato, a few basil leaves, some salt, and a splash of oil. Bring to boil, then lower the heat and leave to cook for about 10 minutes.
Add the potatoes and zucchini. When the vegetables are half-cooked, toss in the spaghetti and stir immediately.
In the meantime, crush the remaining diced tomatoes with a fork in a small pan with a bit of oil and the remaining garlic clove. Allow it to reduce a little, then add this sauce to the pasta, season with salt, and cook until done. Keep in mind that this dish should be soupy, not too thick.
Put additional olive oil on the table so that everyone can add a drizzle of oil if they like.
The tomato sauce is not essential. You can add all the tomatoes at the beginning. The pasta will just have less sauce, but it will be delicious and flavorful all the same.