What’s Cooking Wednesday: Green Beans, Pancetta, and Potatoes

What's Cooking WednesdayThis week’s What’s Cooking Wednesday recipe screams summer because of the gorgeous fresh fagiolini (green beans) that star in the dish; a more hearty version of this basic combo can be found at my recipe for Pork, Green Beans, and Potatoes in Tomato Sauce.

Now, before we get started, if you think you don’t like green beans, please find some fresh ones. Trust me, they have nothing to do with canned green beans (to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of those either). As with any beans, they take a little prep work (washing, snapping off the ends, and blanching), but they are *so* worth it.

We didn’t grow our own fagiolini this year, but we will definitely give it a go next year. The beans used in this recipe, of course, are locally grown though. And if you’re curious as to what *is* going on in our garden, check out our:


Our first lettuce on Flickr


Our first onions on Flickr

The cucumbers and tomatoes are ripening as I type! Yay!

OK, the recipe. Traditionally instead of the pancetta, the Badolatese would use “carne salata,” spicy, salty lard particular to here; (luckily) we didn’t have any, so we substituted pancetta, and it worked great. You can use cubed ham if you’re short on pancetta.

Green Beans, Pancetta, and Potatoes
Fagiolini con pancetta e patate

Green beans, potatoes, and pancetta on Flickr

  • 5 tablespoons olive oil
  • Half kilo (about a pound) of fresh green beans
  • One medium onion, diced
  • 100 grams (about 1/4 pound) of pancetta, cubed
  • 4 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks or cubed (your choice)
  • Salt to taste

1. Wash beans and snap (or snip) off ends.

2. Bring a pot of water to boil, then drop in beans for about 3-5 minutes until they are bright green but still rather al dente. Many say to then drop them into a waiting bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process, but I never do–they’re always fine, and I save myself another dish to wash. You just have to get used to when to take them out, that’s all.

3. Put about five tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan and heat over medium. When the oil is hot, add the onions and let saute for a couple of minutes.

4. Add pancetta to pan, again letting it saute for a couple minutes, then add potatoes and mix together.

5. The potatoes will take the longest to cook, of course, so let this mixture cook for about 15-25 minutes–depends on how large your potato chunks are.

6. Add the green beans and some salt and mix everything together. Let cook for another 10 minutes or so, stirring and adding water if it gets a bit dry. The dish is ready when the potatoes and beans are cooked to your satisfaction. Be sure to adjust for salt.

7. Serve hot with bread–or eat leftover cold the next day as a salad. YUM!

Buon appetito!

23 Beans of Wisdom to “What’s Cooking Wednesday: Green Beans, Pancetta, and Potatoes”
  1. 06.17.2009

    The recipe looks great. And thanks again for the book 🙂

    Thanks; be sure to let me know what you think of the book!

    .-= City Girl´s last blog ..Blog Award =-.

  2. 06.17.2009

    Michelle this recipe looks exquisite. I love the fat Roman beans. I planted them in my new garden and when they finally grow – Im making this!
    Thanks for sharing….my family will thank you too! Ciao…

    Let me know how you like it Susan!

    .-= Susan´s last blog ..Garden Bloggers Death Day =-.

  3. 06.17.2009

    Wow you’ve got some beautiful lettuce and onions growing. I love those flat Italian beans and forgot to plant some in my garden.

    We kind of forgot them too…next year or even a bumper crop this year….

    .-= Ciaochowlinda´s last blog ..Grilled Salmon with Rhubarb Relish =-.

  4. I love fresh beans too.

    I’m molto jealous of your garden!

    I still can’t believe we have one–first time ever we’ve had some land with sun!

    .-= nyc/caribbean ragazza´s last blog ..What will happen in Iran? =-.

  5. Lesley

    Looks yummy! Will have to try that recipe 😎

    Are you still in Calabria? You can get the beans for about 2,50 a kilo at the markets (at least where I am).

  6. 06.17.2009

    YUM…. that looks so GOOD!

    So… what if you opened a little cafe there in your village? You could do lunch and dinner there and write all morning… ;o)

    You have so many talents, your opportunities are almost endless!!

    By the way, you won the Wandering point yesterday! Great job! You’re tied!

    New one up later today.


    Scarlett & Viaggiatore

    Yay! Can’t wait for the next one…hope I’m still awake 🙂

    .-= Wanderlust Scarlett´s last blog ..Wandering Off To India ~ Destination Three =-.

  7. 06.18.2009


    I love this one…I love beans!


    .-= Mariposa´s last blog ..Ice Breaker… =-.

  8. 06.18.2009

    Pancetta makes everything better! This is such a great summer dish.

    Couldn’t agree with you more on the pancetta….

    .-= The Italian Dish´s last blog ..Chocolate Panna Cotta =-.

  9. 06.18.2009

    Michelle! I’m loving the look of your lettuga! what a beauty! and when u do grow your own beans, make sure you snap more pics!

    Promise 🙂

  10. mike rubbo

    Mouthwatering , my dear Michelle. Mike

    Mike! How lovely to see you here 🙂 Thanks for coming by!

  11. Gil

    Sounds delicious!

    Gil, I have a hard time not eating too much of this…the “full” button doesn’t seem to register!

  12. 06.19.2009

    Yum. If you take out the pancetta (why, why?) and add some pesto and pasta, you are at the other end of the country. Amazing place, Italy.

    Mmmm pesto…….

  13. 06.20.2009

    Those pictures are beautiful! They are making my mouth water!

    Thanks! P just brought home some more onions and cucumbers! YUM!

  14. 06.21.2009

    Looks yummy! I am going to try this on my in-laws!!!

    Hope they enjoy it as much as mine do 🙂

  15. 06.21.2009

    Looks delicious!!

    Ooh and jammie movie night sounds perfect!

    .-= Shan´s last blog ..jammie movie night =-.

  16. 06.25.2009

    I just made this for dinner and it was great – a definite new staple recipe in my repertoire!

    So glad to hear it Elle! It really is quite a simple recipe at its bare bones…and so tasty 🙂

  17. It looks so fresh and appetizing. I am going to try it this weekend. Summer time is always a great time for fresh vegies and excellent healthy meals.


  18. 06.19.2010

    See, when people ask me what my definition of luxury is, I can only say — it’s not gold plated faucets. It’s having 1) time (the ultimate luxury) and it’s 2) having access to food like this. It sounds so simple, go to the grocery store and buy the ingredients. But when the ingredients are all hyper-local (meaning from some neighbor’s garden or the very local farmer’s market), what could be truly more luxurious (then feeding your body nutrients that are only a few hours old)?

    Oh enough, let’s eat already!


    It’s so true. Nothing can replace or cover up old, dried out, tasteless ingredients…getting fresh produce and even meats really make all the difference. Luxuriant indeed!

  19. 06.20.2010

    Your dish Michelle looks so delicious! I bet the smell of cooking is wonderful!

    Pancetta and onions sauteeing is *so* lovely indeed 🙂

  20. 06.20.2010

    Yum. This recipe is also kid friendly. I guarantee it. Thanks Michelle! And thanks from the little’uns too.
    baci from Rome

    Great! Hope everyone loves it! It’s one of my absolute favorites 🙂

  21. betty

    i made this recipe but substituted the pancetta with a vegan faux sausage.

    it came out really good!

    i’m going to make more of your recipes.

    Enjoy Betty! What’s great about so many of the things we make is that many times you can substitute for whatever you have on hand. New dishes are always being invented that way around here 🙂

  22. Laurie

    I just made this wonderful dish. DEEE licious. My husband (pugliese) loved it, though he said, “quella ragazza li’ ti ha detto di mettere tutto quell’olio?”. Si, I replied. “Eh beh si, i Calabresi esaggerano sempre con olio”!!!

    I thought it was PERFECT….we’ll be enjoying the leftovers tomorrow cold. YUM. Thanks for this!

    Haha, measurements are always to be played with, but I find with this you need some liquid to cook throughout and more oil gives it more flavor than just adding so much water. I made this last night and we had the leftovers for lunch…and I told P this week I’m buying all the lady has in fagiolini at the market! 😉 Thanks for letting me know!

  23. 04.28.2011

    This is one of my husband’s favorite meals! Simple and delicious.

    Pat, no matter how much I make, it’s never enough. LOVE.



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