green bean

la scarpetta....

I might've mentioned the meaning of "scarpetta" once on Facebook before.  This word was introduced by Roby aka Marco's fratello when we were having this delicious bean dish that Marco made.  I were surprised by the incredibly flavored taste because the dish was made with so few simple ingredients.  While we were busy tearing and sharing the loaf of bread, Roby took the time to explain to me what the metaphor of "fare la scarpetta" meant.  This is directly translated as "to do with the little shoe," meaning by using the piece of bread in your hand as a shoe to scoop up every last bit on your plate and swipe it nice and clean.  I thought it was a really cute way of saying so the dish got stuck in my head.  I think it is indeed a good way of introducing food to kids by telling them a story.   Just a bit of imagination and explanation, we can certainly turn an unremarkable meal to an unforgettable and fun adventure.  

Of course, I went online to look up the meaning a bit more and later found that the type of bread we should use is ciabatta.  I actually like this dish with sourdough rye bread instead because that's what we had at the time.  ;)   And this is what I love about Italian cooking.  Every family has got its own ways of making food.  As Marcella Hazan wrote in one of her classic cook books, "there is no such thing as Italian haute cuisine because there are no high or low roads in Italian cooking.  All roads lead to the home, to la cucina di casa -- the only one that deserves to be called Italian cooking."  

Enjoy cooking and have a good week ahead. 

fagiolini al pomodoro 

Servings: 2 persons

Preparation Time: 5 minutes

Cooking Time: 30-40 minutes


300g long green beans

150g-200g cherry tomatoes, halved

3-4 shallots, thinly sliced

4-5 garlic cloves, chopped

2-3 tbsp tomato paste

2 cups vegetable stock

1/2 glass white/red wine

2 tbsp sherry vinegar

1 tbsp brown sugar

extra-virgin olive oil


1) Preheat a saucepan with oil on medium low heat, add beans and stir fry for 3 minutes.  

2) Add garlic, cherry tomatoes, and shallots, stir and cook for 3 minutes.  Add vinegar, cook for 1 minute.  Add wine and heat on medium high until the alcohol evaporates.  Keep stirring to avoid burning.  

3) Add tomato paste and vegetable stock, stir and put a lid on.  Bring to boil for 3-5 minutes then reduce heat to medium low and let it simmer for 25-30 minutes until the beans are softened.  

4) Add sugar and season according to your taste.  Ready to serve. BTW, I added a spoonful of pesto for more taste.