You’ve got to love classic recipes like Green Beans Almondine. Super easy and delicious, who can argue with browned butter! But sometimes you have to shake things up–and this recipe for Cheesy Green Bean Gratinata, a fancy, cheesy Green Bean Casserole is more than up to the challenge.
The recipe is known lovingly in our family as “that green bean dish with the cheese and tomatoes,” and has been appearing on our Thanksgiving table for years. The tender, flavorful green beans topped with fresh mozzarella, parmesan and cherry tomatoes is always gobbled down quickly–and I finally got around to asking for the recipe.
The recipe came, via my sister-in-law, from celebrity chef Lidia Bastianich, but when I followed the link to the web site, it was no longer available. Thankfully, I found it elsewhere (whew!)—guess it’s dangerous to wait too long to try out those “family” recipes!
Not sure why, but this year I feel a strong push to move beyond our traditions. The first dish to go was my Spinach Potato Leek soup. My leeks and potatoes when into Russian Mushroom and Potato soup instead (to great family accolades). And when the CSA green beans arrived, I remembered the Thanksgiving Green Bean Casserole.
I was ready for the great flavor but what I didn’t expect was how quickly and easily it came together. I simplified the instructions, reduced the fat and used Italian bread crumbs rather than plain (because I had them, but you can find the recipe here). I did use the fresh basil and will continue to when I have it, but with the flavor boost from the Italian breadcrumbs, I now consider fresh basil optional if it means extra expense & a trip to the store.
I still love my Green Beans Almondine, but I am super happy to have a new option. I think I’ll be looking for more ways to shake up my traditions!
Is there a dish or ingredient you are doing something different with lately?
- 1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans, trimmed
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt, divided
- 3/4 pound cherry tomatoes (about 3 cups), ideally small “grape” tomatoes, rinsed and patted dry
- 1/2 pound fresh mozzarella, sliced into 1/2-inch cubes (or small fresh mozzarella balls)
- 4 to 6 fresh basil leaves, sliced into thin shreds or chiffonade (optional)
- 1 cup grated fresh Parmesan
- 1/2 cup dry Italian bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- Arrange a rack in the top half of the oven and preheat to 375 degrees F.
- Fill a large pot with water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Add the green beans, bring back to a boil and cook the beans until they are just tender, 4-8 minutes. Drain the beans and cool them partly by running cold water over the strainer.
- Combine the green beans with the remaining ingredients.
- Lightly grease a 2- or 3-quart baking dish with butter or nonstick cooking spray. Spread the green-bean mixture in the baking dish.
- Bake the gratinata, covered, for about 20 minutes until heated through (if you start with cooled green beans, this time will increase substantially). Serve hot in the baking dish.
- Sweet Potato, Arugula and Feta Salad
- Thyme Marinated Tender Pork Chops