Charred Green Beans with Almond Marjoram Pesto Recipe
Charred Green Beans with Almond Marjoram Pesto

Fresh fagiolini, or haricots verts as they're known in Italy's neighbor to the north, are some of the best indicators that summer has reached its peak.

Because green beans are harvested when young, the pods are tender and edible. In Italy, they're often cooked until just soft and simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. At my New York restaurant Otto, we serve blanched green beans with sweet charred Vidalia onions, olive oil and orange juice. That hint of acidity in the OJ heightens the freshness.

In this Charred Green Beans with Almond Marjoram Pesto recipe, I spice the beans up a bit with red chili and red wine vinegar.

Green beans are available year-round but they are at most delicious during the summer. Rather than packaged beans, try to buy beans that are sold loose in order find the freshest pods.

What we commonly think of as "pesto" is only one variety of the sauce. Pesto Genovese is the basil pesto native to the northwesterly Ligurian coast. This recipe is a riff on the Genovese version in which I use almonds rather than pine nuts and add fresh marjoram, one of my favorite summer herbs.

Fresh green beans are delicious on their own (even raw), but this Charred Green Beans with Almond Marjoram Pesto recipe takes them to the next level.

Charred Green Beans with Almond Marjoram Pesto

    Prep Time: 15 minutes

    Cook time: 15 minutes

    Yield: Serves 8 to 10 as a side dish

Charred Green Beans with Almond Marjoram Pesto Recipe Ingredients

    For the Pesto

    2 garlic cloves

    1/2 cup fresh marjoram leaves (or use oregano leaves)

    1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

    1 teaspoon salt

    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

    1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds

    For the Beans

    3 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

    2 pounds fresh young green beans, trimmed

    5 garlic cloves, halved

    1 small fresh hot chili, cored, seeded and minced; or 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

    6 tablespoons red wine vinegar

    2 tablespoons sugar

Charred Green Beans with Almond Marjoram Pesto Recipe Directions

    First, make the pesto:

    Combine the garlic, marjoram, basil and salt in a food processor, and process until chopped.

    With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream. Add the almonds and pulse to form a smooth paste.

    Taste for seasoning, and set aside. (This pesto will keep for 1 week in the fridge if the surface is covered with a layer of oil.)

    Heat a 12- to 14-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat. When it's hot enough to evaporate a bead of water, swirl 3 tablespoons of the oil around in the skillet. Add half of the green beans and saute for several minutes, stirring constantly, until they are just tender and starting to turn dark brown in spots. This should look and feel like a stir-fry. Transfer the beans to a plate, but keep the pan on the heat. Repeat with the remaining beans and set them aside.

    Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Add the garlic and chili, and cook for about 1 minute. Add the vinegar and the sugar, and let it sputter for 10 seconds. Then return the still-warm beans to the skillet and stir until they are coated and hot.

    To serve, spread a thin layer of the almond pesto on a platter. Then pile the beans up and spoon more pesto over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Vegetarian - Mario Batali Recipe, Italian Cuisine


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Charred Green Beans Recipe with Almond Marjoram Pesto

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