Flat and Coral like beans – Fagioli corallini

The good thing about people like me, about people who have had to adapt their taste buds to whatever food genre was going, six years at an English boardng school for instance, during the late sixties/early seventies … is that one is able to eat just about anything unless it is truly disgusting.  All this to say that ‘people like me’ will have gone through many a  dinner of uninspiring dishes, knowing that something better would follow very soon.

And thus it is where Romano Pole beans are concerned.

Their unpretentious botanical name is Phaseolus vulgaris ... and yes, let’s be honest, these weird string-cum-mangetout beans are indeed a bit on the vulgar side, nothing chic about them whatsoever.  In some linguistic circles they are known as ‘piattoni’ (the flat ones) and in and around Rome, they are also called ‘corallini’ – coral like beans … a term I find somewhat far fetched, nothing coral-like about them whatsoever … unless it’s their toughness. And oh my are they tough!

One would think that one could get away with cooking/steaming them for a sheer amount, and then adding flavour.  But no. Oh no.  These blighters need to cook and cook forever.  More than one would think necessary.  And then… surprisingly … they yield.  Their mellowness finally and at long last succumbs to the flavour one wants to grace them with, and voilà … we come up with a vegetable side dish that is strangely intruiguing.  Repeat … this vegetable side dish will never be chic.  It’s rough and ready stuff.  However, when it comes to rough and ready, this vegetable side dish can indeed deliver on many points.  Make sure there is plenty of bread to mop up the sauce. Fingers will get greasy.  Who cares… wash them afterwards.

This recipe is about hastening the cooking process of corallini beans via that extraordinary invention that is … the pressure cooker.

IMG_0864 So let’s begin at the beginning. The corallini have been washed and I thought they would benefit from being cut up into smaller morsels.IMG_0865 A saucepan.  Some cloves of garlic.  Plenty of good quality olive oil (evoo).IMG_0866 It’s that time of day when a glass of wine is definitely called for.  Wine is red, and tomato sauce is red.
IMG_0874 Add the tomato sauce to the olive oil and garlic and corallini beans.  Cook them over a high heat for at least five minutes.  Sprinkle an appropriate amount of good quality sea salt.  A good amount means … rather a lot of !IMG_0875 Pop the lot into a pressure cooker.IMG_0887 And cook for 30 minutes.  Yes, indeed! Thirdy minutes! That’s a long time for a pressure cooker.

IMG_1762 In a serving bowl.IMG_1763 IMG_1764And what can I say?  If you like this sort of dish … and now I do … it can be so very heart warming, so very satisfying, so very senses awakening (it’s all about dipping broken bread in the sauce too, and licking one’s fingers, and making slurping noises).

Not an elegant side dish. But then again, not always is elegance the number one requirement for a hearty meal, for a good meal.

5 thoughts on “Flat and Coral like beans – Fagioli corallini

  1. Hmmm…my parents used to grow these beans and I never liked them…they were kind of hairy or something. However, I have cooked “Romano” green beans this way…with peperoncino too, because we simply must! It’s a delicious combination of all the flavours and as you recommend, needs a loaf of crusty bread. Heck we even eat the leftovers at room temperature for an antipasto! No pressure cooker so guess I’ll have to wing it time wise…probably an hour. You have convinced me to buy these beans when they are in season this year and make this dish.

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  2. We have beans that look exactly the same, but they won’t take more than 15-20 minutes to cook regularly. And only 10 with some baking soda added to the cooking water. I’ve come up with a pasta dish in which they are very nice, with prisciutto, eggs (carbonara style) and parmigiano.

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  3. Well, maybe it’s the Italian kind that take forever to reach that ‘point’ where taste and texture meet in unison. When I didn’t used to cook them that long in the past, the result was a very slippery texture, the beans almost seemed to ‘squeak’ in one’s mouth. Mmmmm about the pasta combo … must try it some day!

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  4. I buy a frozen product called “Italian Green Beans” that look like these in a grocery store. I like them and always use them when I make minestrone soup. Perhaps because they have been frozen, they don’t need to cook too long to be tender.

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