This one is a makeover. It’s Italian. It’s lighter. And, it’s contemporary. This is an ‘instead of” recipe.
For this month’s makeover challenge, the 5 Star Cooking Group took on re-inventing the iconic Green Bean Casserole.
My family is not culinarily traditional so I never had green bean casserole. In fact, I was surprised to see soy sauce as one of the ingredients. Oh, yes, we celebrate Thanksgiving – big time! But, like FOODalogue, we’re always reinventing, freshening, spicing and (trying to) lighten up the multitude of dishes on the table.
Once I saw this recipe, I knew immediately this was going to be an “instead of” recipe — a literal makeover line-by-line.
May your stuffing be tasty,
may your turkey be plump.
May your potatoes and gravy
have nary a lump.
May your yams be delicious
and your pies take the prize.
And may your Thanksgiving dinner
stay off your thighs!
Instead of frozen cut green beans … fresh Italian green beans*
Instead of cream of mushroom soup … parmesan bechamel and porcini mushrooms
Instead of soy sauce … anchovies
Instead of black pepper … red chili flakes (with the beans) and white pepper (in bechamel)
Instead of French’s Fried Onions … fried spaghetti
*The beans are also known as borlotto, flat bean, pole and Romano. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find them by any of their names in the markets or farm stores near me so I used traditional green beans — and yellow for a little diversity.
• Reconstitute dried porcini mushrooms in hot chicken broth.
• Roast beans and mushrooms with garlic-and-anchovy-infused olive oil.
• Mario Batali bechamel sauce; FOODalogue adds parmesan and white pepper.
• Fry vermicelli nests or broken thin pasta for topping.
• Sprinkle with porcini salt as a ‘finishing touch’.
• Make a lot. I would almost bypass the turkey and stuffing for another helping of this!
• There’s crunch from the spaghetti and a bite to the beans since they were roasted, not boiled (yuck!)
• Anchovy provides the salt and adds a deep nutty, briny flavor.
• With porcini, you get aroma and an earthiness.
• Lastly, a sprinkle of porcini salt over the fried spaghetti complements and heightens the mouthfeel.
What do you think?
A perfect meal has multiple levels of flavor and textures, bright colors and tastes, and healthy(ish) choices. It's all about enjoyment. Enjoy the process, the presentation and the just rewards...eating!
I've always been a culinary improvisor which means I get my kicks out of recipe development. In the FOODalogue kitchen each meal is an adventure and the journey is as exciting as the destination. My favorite kitchen tools are imagination and intuition. I rarely look at a recipe, not even my own!
On these pages, I suggest food pairings and techniques to be experimented with...in your own kitchen...to your own spice levels...and to your preferred portion sizes.