Green Beans with Soffritto and Country Ham

Alex Roberts learned the secret to great soffritto--an aromatic vegetable mixture used as a base for many Italian soups and sauces--while traveling through Tuscany. "The trick is to cook it really slow--otherwise the vegetables scorch," he says. This year, he asked his father to grow some aji dulce peppers, which he will add to the soffritto at his new restaurant, the Creole- and Caribbean-influenced Brasa Rotisserie.

Slideshow:More Healthy Vegetable Dishes

  • Active:
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  • Servings: 4

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  • 1 1/4 pounds green beans
  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, finely diced
  • 2 medium celery ribs, finely diced
  • 1 small onion, finely diced
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper
  • Pinch of dried oregano
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced country ham or prosciutto, cut into 1/4-inch-thick matchsticks (1/2 cup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon finely chopped rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

How to make this recipe

  1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook the beans until crisp-tender, about 4 minutes. Drain the beans and cut them into 1-inch lengths.

  2. In a medium skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil. Add the carrots, celery, onion, crushed red pepper and oregano and cook over low heat until the vegetables are just tender, about 25 minutes. Season the <em>soffritto</em> with salt and pepper.

  3. In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of oil. Add the garlic and cook over moderate heat until fragrant, about 1 1/2 minutes. Add the country ham and rosemary and cook over moderately high heat until the ham is sizzling, about 1 minute. Stir in the vinegar. Add the green beans and <em>soffritto</em> and toss until heated through. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Make Ahead

The soffritto can be made up to two days ahead.

Contributed By Photo James Baigrie Published August 2007

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