Fagiolini e zucchine, otherwise known as “string beans and zucchini” in English
There is little in this world more beautiful and humble than a bowl of string beans. It’s one of the more unappreciated of vegetables.
Simmer about 1/2 lb. trimmed green beans in lightly salted water about 2-3 minutes, then drain and plunge in ice water. This will help stop the cooking and preserve the color. Next, add some olive oil and chopped garlic in a large skillet; warm the olive oil over medium heat. When the garlic turns a pale off-white, after about a minute, add the green beans and coarsely diced zucchini to the pan along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until the green beans and zucchini are tender, about 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in some chopped herbs of your choice and serve at once.
That’s the basic template. From there, you can go in various directions, like:
* 1-2 anchovy fillets, mashed, then added to the skillet as you cook the garlic; OR
* 1/2 cup coarsely diced tomatoes; OR
* 1/4 cup pitted, chopped olives; OR
* 1/2 cup cooked chickpeas; OR
* 1 to 2 tablespoons lemon juice or white wine vinegar stirred in prior to serving.
Or leave it plain, as pictured. It’s delicious all by itself.
Time: About 20 minutes, including prep.