This story originally aired Aug. 21, 2019.
Those colorful bean seeds I traded our cow for worked only too well. No vine to the sky, but plenty of green beans here on the ground. So many that we're having trouble keeping up. One day the thought came to me: Green bean spaghetti. Could there be a recipe for such a thing?
In .47 seconds I discovered 14,100,000 of them.
I chose Martha Stewart's Spaghetti with Pancetta, Green Beans and Basil recipe because I'd recently had a dream about her and was feeling sentimental. Here's how it came out.
When Nancy Leson has green beans, she likes to make the Wild Ginger-ish Sichuan Green Beans from Cynthia Nims and Cathy Casey's Best Places Seattle Cookbook. It's Nancy, so naturally she couldn't leave the recipe alone. Here's her adaptation.
Wild Ginger-ish Sichuan Green Beans
Serves: 4 as a side-dish/2 as a meal
Prep: about 35 minutes
2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons rice vinegar
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 ½ pounds tender green beans, trimmed and thoroughly dried
2 ounces pork, thinly sliced from a single pork loin chop (or substitute ground pork)
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
1 tablespoon minced Sichuan preserved vegetable (optional)
In a wok, pour enough oil to a depth of 2 to 3 inches and heat over medium-high heat to 400 degrees.
While the oil is heating, whisk together the soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil and sugar in a small bowl. Stir until the sugar is dissolved and set aside.
When the oil is hot, fry the green beans, in three batches, until lightly browned and blistered, about 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a paper-towel lined platter to drain. Allow the oil to reheat as needed between batches.
Turn off the burner, then carefully pour all but 1 tablespoon of hot oil into a glass bowl or measuring cup. (Cool and save to re-use. )
Re-heat the wok over high heat until very hot. Swiftly add the pork, red pepper flakes and preserved vegetable (if using) and stir-fry for 10 seconds. Add the soy sauce mixture and heat, stirring, for about 15 seconds, being careful not to burn the sugar. Add the green beans and toss until most of the liquid is reduced and absorbed by the beans, about 45 seconds.
— adapted from “Best Places Seattle Cookbook” by Cynthia Nims and Kathy Casey
DeGroot likes her green beans just boiled with maybe a little lemon on top. And she likes 'em cooked all the way. Tip: Always add salt to the water to prevent that grassy taste you sometimes get.
My favorite way to eat green beans is furtively when freshly filched from the produce section while I'm bagging some up to take home.
"Green bean spaghetti? Ummm, I dunno, hon..." –The Lovely and Talented Cheryl DeGroot