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Fresh Shelling Beans with Garlic and Parsley

Yield: 4 servings

  • 1 lb. fresh shelling beans (such as cannellini or cranberry)
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
  • pinch crushed red pepper (optional)
  • salt to taste
  • 2 Tbs. chopped parsley leaves

Shell the beans and simmer for about 20 minutes, in plain water to cover by one inch, until they are tender. Don’t let the water evaporate to below the beans, but don’t add too much; you want to end up with a syrupy rather then very wet product when they are cooked.

Meanwhile, peel and chop the garlic. Sauté it over medium-low heat in the olive oil, with the pinch of pepper. Once the beans are cooked, add them, and simmer together, salting to taste, for a few minutes. Finish with the parsley just before serving.

Note: in the winter I always keep a jar of cannelloni or barlotti beans in the cupboard, and make this recipe frequently with these. You can also add some fresh greens (kale that has been blanched for 5 minutes in boiling salted water, or chopped chard or spinach leaves) to simmer with the beans and garlic. If you have a tomato around, you can also vary the recipe by chopping it and adding it as well. The beans or beans and greens are great on their own, and also wonderful served with your favorite flavor of grilled sausage for a quick, easy meal.