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Romano Beans with Shallots and Bacon capture the essence of summer in a side dish that's as easy as it is delicious. These seasonal green beans are at their best when fresh and tender, but when paired with the savory richness of bacon and the gentle sweetness of shallots, they become the highlight of any summer meal.
This dish not only complements a variety of grilled meats and fish, but it also stands well on its own for those looking for a lighter fare. With a total cooking time of just 20 minutes, this recipe is tailor-made for those spontaneous barbecues, picnics, or even quick weeknight dinners when you want maximum flavor with minimal effort.
Ingredients for Romano Beans with Shallots and Bacon
- Fresh Romano Beans: Look for beans that are vibrant in color, free from blemishes and fairly firm to the touch.
- Bacon: Opt for thick-cut, high-quality bacon that will impart a rich, smoky flavor.
- Large Shallot: Choose shallots that are firm, heavy for their size, and have tight, papery skins.
What are Romano Beans?
Romano Beans, also known as Italian Flat Beans, are a variety of runner bean. Unlike the more commonly known green beans, they're broader and flatter, with a stringless seam running down the side. Their texture is slightly more tender and their flavor a touch sweeter compared to their green bean relatives.
Native to Italy, these beans are an integral part of Mediterranean cooking and have gained popularity in a variety of cuisines. They're most available during the summer months, a seasonal ingredient that's best enjoyed fresh.
How do you cook Romano Beans?
Romano Beans are so simple to prepare! Most of the time, I just blanch them, toss them in some olive oil and season with salt and pepper. But with bacon and shallots they're even better. Because, you know, bacon.
- Swap the bacon for pancetta if you prefer its slightly sweeter taste.
- Replace the shallot with a small red onion for a more pungent kick.
- If Romano beans are not in season, feel free to use fresh green beans instead.
- Add a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese before serving.
- Toss in a few cherry tomatoes for a pop of color and added sweetness.
- Cut the bacon into uniform strips to ensure even cooking.
- Blanch the Romano beans just until they are crisp-tender to retain their vibrant color and fresh taste.
- Drain all but one tablespoon of bacon fat to keep the dish from becoming too greasy while retaining flavor.
Mistakes to Avoid
- Overcooking the Romano beans, as they should retain a bit of crunch for the best texture.
- Skimping on the bacon or using low-quality options; this is where your dish gets its rich, smoky undertones.
- Forgetting to season at each step—season the blanching water for the beans and adjust salt and pepper at the end to bring out all the flavors.
Serve these with anything you throw on the grill this summer from: Carne Asada, to Grilled Shrimp to Rosemary-Garlic Chicken Kabobs. And if you happen to have some pork belly to crisp up in place of the bacon, all the better!
Romano Beans with Shallots and Bacon
- 1 pound fresh Romano beans ends and strings removed
- 3 slices bacon sliced crosswise into thin strips
- 1 large shallot finely chopped
- In a wide saucepan, heat 1 to 2-inches of water to boil and add a large pinch of salt.
- Add trimmed beans and blanch 3 or 4 minutes, until crisp-tender. Drain.
- Meanwhile, cook bacon in a large skillet over medium heat until nearly crisp. Add shallots; cook and stir until shallots have softened. Drain all but one tablespoon of fat.
- Add Romano beans to skillet with bacon and shallots; cook and stir until combined. Season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Serve.