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.
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. A saucepan. Some cloves of garlic. Plenty of good quality olive oil (evoo). It’s that time of day when a glass of wine is definitely called for. Wine is red, and tomato sauce is red.
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 ! Pop the lot into a pressure cooker. And cook for 30 minutes. Yes, indeed! Thirdy minutes! That’s a long time for a pressure cooker.
In a serving bowl. And 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.