Fagiolini al Pomodoro

Stewed Green Beans

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

Classic Italian Cooking

Classic Italian Cooking

By Valentina Harris

Published 2008

  • About

There is a tradition in Italy of cooking vegetables such as green beans until they are softened and stewed with other ingredients, often with tomato. This goes against the grain with those people who prefer their green beans crisp. However, this is a good way of cooking green beans that do not have much taste to begin with!


  • 4 cups green beans, topped and tailed
  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, sliced thin
  • 1 heaping tablespoon tomato paste diluted in about 4 tablespoons hot water
  • 1 teaspoon fennel seeds, lightly crushed
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper


  1. Bring a large saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. Add the beans and cook until just about tender.
  2. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet. Add the onion and fry until soft. Then stir in the tomato paste and crushed fennel seeds.
  3. Drain the beans thoroughly and add them to the skillet. Mix everything together and season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Cover and cook through for an additional 20 minutes, then serve. This is also delicious cold, bearing in mind that the flavor of the fennel seeds will increase as the beans absorb more of the sauce.


If the taste of fennel is not to your liking, simply leave it out. This is a very good way of using up late season beans, which tend to be a little tough. The long cooking process makes even very tired beans tasty.