Flat Beans Braised in White Wine and Butter – The Vegetarian Mediterranean

By July 15, 2010 Recipes 11 Comments

I’m sure it’s not just myself who feels that life these days is more rushed than it has ever been. With everything available at a whim, we have re-programmed our brains into believing that everything should and can be achieved immediately. We have little sense of patience and are constantly increasing the pace of our day to day lives. My little baby is now 10 days over due, and the doctor is advising us to get her out. He is basing this “over due” date on an average of when most women give birth, but not on the current health of mom and baby. We were being rushed to induce on Wednesday, but the hospital was booked, so he booked us in for Saturday. Does this sound strange to you? What’s the logic behind that? And what was his sense of urgency to artificially bring on labour on Wednesday when he is so easily willing to wait till Saturday? In my opinion, and from what we’ve discussed with the midwives, 14 days from that fictional due date is an acceptable waiting period. This will give little Sara till Tuesday to get her act together and come out. So if both mom and baby are doing well for now, what’s the rush in getting her out immediately?

My friend’s baby was 14 days overdue, and according to him, babies are better over cooked than under cooked. Other things that are sometimes better over cooked are vegetables. These days, I feel we have a tendency to under cook them; rushing them; asking them to come out before they are done. There’s no denying that in stir-fries, under cooked is best, but with Mediterranean cooking, often, over cooked is even better. Take for example these Italian flat beans that I braised in white wine, butter and vegetable stock. It took them around an hour to cook, but once done, they had absorbed all that white wine and the braise was enriched with the creaminess of the butter. The beans pods were delicious, but the real stars were the seeds that became as soft as bone marrow and beautifully carried the flavours of the garlic, onion as well as the braise. Something this delicious would not be achievable in half the time, would it? I wish we could all have some more patience and maybe we can appreciate and accept that certain things take longer to develop.

Flat Beans Braised in White Wine and Butter Recipe


  • 1 kilo flat Italian beans with both ends removed
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 2 large onions, diced or sliced or quartered
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 2 cups white wine
  • 2 cups of vegetable stock or water
  • salt and pepper to taste


  • In a lidded pot that fits all the ingredients fry the garlic and onions gently in olive oil without colouring them
  • Add the wine, ramp up the heat and boil for 10 minutes
  • Add the stock and the beans along with some salt
  • Cover and cook for 45 minutes
  • Add the butter
  • Cover and cook for a further 15 minutes until the beans are extremely tender
  • Add salt and pepper to taste
  • Eat cold or hot and served with a wedge of lemon


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