Category: Italian life

Il Cucchiaio d’argento::fagiolini gratinati

In my quest to be Italian-American housewife of the year, I decided to crack open my Italian cooking guide, Il Cucchiaio d’argento, for dinner tonight.  For those English-only folks, this “bible” of recipes is The Silver Spoon, now available in English!

The main course was my magical beef pot roast. I LOVE the slow cooker.  I love that we eat pot roast for a week after I make it. And I love that you throw some stuff in there and it cooks in a few hours!

My favorite recipe I use is a random Google find from about.com.

Pot roast doesn’t photograph well, but it looked and smelled delicious.

The important experimental dish in tonight’s meal was a green bean dish.  I chose fagiolini gratinati (or green beans au gratin). The recipe serves 4, so I cut it in half as we are 2 – and if it turned out horribly, I didn’t want leftovers!

mm pretty green beans

First, I washed and snapped the beans (2 cups worth) in halves.  Then I boiled the beans in salt water for about 10 minutes.  The beans were drained and cooled a bit while I heated 2 Tbsp of olive oil in a pan.  In the oil, I cooked the already roasted garlic (1 clove) with some chopped onions covered on low for 5 minutes.  The recipe says to discard the garlic but I’m Italian so I left most of it in! It’s delicious! I’m not about to throw that away… But after I removed SOME of the garlic, I added 1 Tbsp of flour.

Then I gradually poured in ¼ cup milk and seasoned with salt and pepper.  I added the cooled beans, ½ cup of white wine and that simmered for 10 minutes, covered.

simmering looks ugly but tastes yummy!
simmering looks ugly but tastes yummy!

While that’s simmering, I preheated the oven to 350° and buttered  baking dish.  When the beans are done simmering, I poured all of the mixture into the dish.  Before sticking it in the oven, sprinkle Parmesan on top (recipe says 2 Tbsp but I love cheese so I used a lot) and dot it with 1 Tbsp of melted butter.

Bake it for 15 minutes or until it’s golden and bubbling as seen below.

cooked
finished cooking and missing a serving :)

Something interesting I learned was that you should boil green beans with the pot cover off to keep them brightly colored.  Also, you should use 4 cups of water to every 1 ½ cups of beans.  I followed both of those new rules and I think it definitely helped the beans turn out perfect.

Beans were fresh, courtesy of Nonna’s garden. And thanks to my almost-sister-in-law for supplying the wonderfully roasted garlic that she made and packaged up!

B u o n   A p p e t i t o !