When we go for a picnic, we like to keep it pretty simple. We bring a block of cheese, a cacciatore salami, fresh tomato, a loaf of crusty bread and some pickled or cooked vegetables. Plus, of course, a bottle of vino. It’s the Friulano version of a ploughman’s lunch; made for eating in the field. One thing I really love to take is my nonna’s recipe for fagiolini in umido, green beans and onions stewed in tomato, with chilli and a hint of cinnamon. It’s just as good served cold as it is warm. I’d be happy with a bowl of this and a chunk of bread.
- 100 ml olive oil
- 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 3 bay leaves
- 2 knobs of butter
- salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 3 ripe tomatoes, diced
- chilli powder and ground cinnamon, to taste
- 1 kg green beans, topped
- good handful of chopped parsley
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Heat a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and garlic and cook until just golden. Add the onion, bay leaves and butter, then season with salt and pepper. Cook for 10-12 minutes or until the onions are light golden and sweet. Add the diced tomato and stir for 2-3 minutes or until they begin to break down. Add the beans, chilli and spices and stir to combine well. Depending on how juicy the tomatoes are, you may need to add a splash of water to keep them moist. Cover with a lid slightly ajar and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the beans turn olive green. Season to taste. Remove from heat and stand until at least warm before serving topped with parsley. This gives the beans a chance to absorb the seasoning and flavour.
Photography, styling and food preparation by china squirrel. Recipe courtesy of Joel Valvasori of Lalla Rookh, Perth.