Fagiolini alla Fiorentina

Green Beans in the Florentine Style


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

This is a sure-fire way to liven up green beans. Even frozen green beans, which are rarely tasty, take on a new lease of life with this very simple Florentine recipe. For this dish, Florentine cooks use the dried fennel seed that is so popular in local recipes and in many culinary specialities, including the huge soft salame known locally as finocchiona, which is so soft that it is almost spreadable, and has a strong fennel flavour. Like so many of these kinds of stewed vegetable dishes that are popular all over Italy, the beans are allowed to cook until they are really soft and have absorbed as much as possible of the surrounding flavours - the perfect accompaniment to some sausages or meat.


  • 7.5 ml/1 ½ tsp fennel seeds
  • 450 g/1 lb green beans, trimmed
  • 75 ml/5 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 20 ml/4 tsp tomato paste diluted in 60 ml/4 tbsp hot water
  • sea salt and ground black pepper


  1. Crush the fennel seeds to a powder in a spice grinder or using a mortar and pestle.
  2. Boil the beans in a pan of lightly salted water until tender. Meanwhile, heat the oil in a large frying pan, add the onion and fry until soft.
  3. Stir in the diluted tomato paste and the crushed fennel seeds.
  4. Drain the beans thoroughly and toss them into the pan. Mix well and season to taste. Cover the pan and cook through for 10-15 minutes more, then serve.