Sicilian Baked Green Beans in Tomato Sauce


Sicilians really love their vegies.  I grew up eating a load of vegetables.  My friends often wonder how I stay thin because I’m constantly cooking.  The answer is – I only eat a little of what I’m making if it’s high in calories and either freeze or give away the rest.  For the most part, dinner consists of a meat dish and a side vegetable.  I confess that green beans are the one vegetable that is a challenge for me to cook because I’m limited in ways of preparing them.  I was wondering what to do with the green beans that were sitting in the frig for 4 days when I suddenly remembered my Great-Aunt Caterina’s green bean recipe.  These green beans are baked in a rich tomato sauce with onion, garlic, and herbs.  It’s simple to make and you can leave it in the oven to cook while you finish making the rest of your meal.

(Fagiolini al Pomodoro Siciliana)

Difficulty Rating: Easy
Makes 6 servings.

1 1/2 pounds green beans, trimmed and cut in half
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 cup diced onion
4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
2 cups crushed tomatoes
1 1/2 tablespoons minced fresh basil leaves
1 1/2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
3/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
Salt and black pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Heat oil in a stove top and oven-proof covered casserole dish, over medium-low heat.  Add onion and sauté about 5 minutes until tender.  Add garlic and sauté until light golden, about 3 minutes.  Remove from heat.  Stir in remaining ingredients and 1/4 cup water.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Stir green beans.  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons water if the beans seem a little dry.  Cook approximately 30 minutes longer, until beans are tender.  Remove bay leaf before serving.

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