September 20, 2010

String Beans and Potatoes


Fagiolini e Patate al Tegame


"Greens and starch all in one—when you serve this next to grilled meat or fish, you will need no other side dish."
– Lidia Matticchio Bastianich (Lidia's Italian Table)


The young woman handed over the bag, now filled with late summer tomatoes and green beans. "$4.50."


This is simple. I can do this. I did.


"I'll just blanch them for tomorrow." I said.

Just blanching felt incomplete. After seven minutes in salted, boiling water, I let the beans sit another five minutes on the counter before rinsing them under cool water. A taste. These are perfect. Perfect.

I peeled two potatoes (Yukon Gold), cubed, and covered with just enough water and salt. Boil.

Fork tines delivered the news. Potatoes ready. A taste. These are perfect. Perfect.

Quickly I drained the potatoes, dumped and spread them onto paper towels where they would linger for a bit while I chopped the garlic (two cloves).

A non-stick pan (our largest non-stick pan) was readied with olive oil, the chopped garlic, and a healthy dose of crushed red pepper (lots). I waited while the flame licked the bottom of the pan.

The moment arrived.

Green beans into the pan. Potatoes into the pan. Salt. Cracked black pepper. A toss and flip. A retrieval of a rogue bean. A taste. Needs a bit more salt. Another toss and flip. Another retrieval. This time, a rogue potato. Steam wafted. The sizzle harmonized with the sound of doneness. A taste. Just right. This is good.


"How long did you boil the potatoes?"

"Until they were cooked."

"That's the perfect answer."


  1. Perfect answer indeed.
    There is a traditional Greek dish using string beans and potatoes, almost like your dish, but with the addition of onions, tomatoes and parsley. All in one pan. Try it sometime.

  2. mmmm. that looks and sounds delicious. we eat a lot of string beans with onion and pine nuts and garlic...and they are good. but to me, any recipe that includes the potato is...well...nearly perfect! thanks.

  3. Beautiful, Tracy! :-) I know I tell you ALL the time, but I love, love, LOVE your writing. It absolutely delights me every day. :-)

  4. I would have been disappointed had you answered any other way ; )
    Stringbeans with potatoes has always been a favorite dish of mine. Enjoy.

  5. simple and delicious, I've just found my dinner inspiration for tonight :)

  6. I love your writing style, so very unique!

    What a simple, yet so delicious recipe; less IS more!

  7. I loathe green beans with the fire of a thousand suns and even these look utterly gorgeous to me. :-)

  8. I love thin French green beans or long/string beans. This recipe looks beautiful, and I'm sure it was delicious.

  9. I have lots of catching up to do, but lets start here - This is one of my favourite things and you describe it beautifully. We often have this with roast chicken (well I do) but I am pretty happy it on its own or with a hard boiled egg. This is one of the nicest contorni at volpetti a tavola calda I will take you to when you come vivit. I love the new header.

  10. My comment was exactly like Denise's until I stopped myself. Great post! I love the addition of red pepper flakes, so sassy!

  11. Magda - I think onions, tomatoes and parsley would be perfect additions.

    countingdandelions - I was thinking pine nuts would be a lovely addition as well.

    Tart - Thank you so very much :)

    Denise - And I said it so very matter of fact. We both had to smile.

    Michele - I'm eating the last of it today for lunch.

    M. - We're glad to inspire :)

    Bianca - Thank you AND yes, less IS more!

    elizabeth - Your comment gave me quite a laugh :)

    Indie.Tea - I love those as well. These were rather hearty and rustic.

    rachel - Thank you :) Oh, this would be very nice with roast chicken. I admit that the thought of eating this with some sort of egg crossed my mind many times as well. I was thinking something on the runny side...

    Nicolette - We are very fond of adding heat. Although, I do have to censor it at times. Not everyone likes to sweat while they're eating :)

  12. Cooking with you is always such a joy - through all the different stages. I love the combination of beans and potatoes. By the way, what's that cookbook you're using?

  13. Brad - Thanks for stopping by!

    Vanessa - The cookbook is Lidia's Italian Table. I go to it frequently for inspiration.

    elizabeth - Green beans deserve the love :)

  14. This looks lovely... could be a meal in itself. So simple and wonderful. I have never thought to drain potatoes on a paper towel, but I bet getting out that liquid makes all the difference.

  15. Tracy, I do love this combo, how bits of potato break down and coat the beans when you toss them together, sooooo delicious. We are both bean cooking this week, and considering the last o' summer tomatoes. the seasons are shifting!

  16. YUMO. This looks so good. I have a large potato that I've been trying to figure out what to do with for a while... this may be the ticket.

  17. Lovely ode to the bean. I am inspired to do some late summer/first-of-fall bean cooking here in Nashville. Bon Apetit

  18. Proof that simple is best. Love it.

  19. Katie - I usually spread them out after draining. Cools them down faster or at least gives the impression that it does :)

    nancy - I just wish the temperatures would dip down to the cooler side. We're hovering around 90, two days in a row now. Ugh.

    Lindsay - I love potatoes :)

    Teresa - I vow to do more with beans. They scream Fall. Thanks for stopping by!

    Velva - Simplicity rules in our kitchen :)


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