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Green Bean Casserole Makeover: It’s Italian, contemporary and it has fried spaghetti!

November 12, 2012 by Joan Nova in 5 Star Foodie Makeover Cooking Group, Finishing Touches, Food Challenge, Holidays, Italian, Pasta, Recipe Development, Side Dishes, Vegetables | 28 Comments

The ‘green bean casserole’ was created in 1955 by the Campbell Soup Company and has been a Thanksgiving favorite on a gazillion tables across America for more than 50 years!

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!

Italian Green Bean and Porcini Mushrooms with Parmesan Bechamel and Fried Spaghetti

Instead of frozen cut green beans … fresh Italian green beans*
Instead of cream of mushroom soup …
parmesan bechamel and porcini mushrooms
Instead of soy sauceanchovies
Instead of black pepperred 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.

Finishing Touch: A sprinkle of porcini salt.

Cooking Tips:
• 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! :)

Tasting Notes:
• 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? 

NOTE: Some recipes found on FOODalogue are offered without ingredient quantities. They're meant as a guide to food pairings and techniques to be experimented with … in your own kitchen … to your own spice and taste levels … to your preferred portion sizes … and to however many people you’re cooking for. 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!


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  1. fried. spaghetti. green beans. bechamel sauce. you ROCK Foodalogue!

  2. I just made a modern version of the beloved green been casserole, but didn’t take the time to get any decent photos. In fact, it looks so ugly in my pics that no one would want to make it. Yours, however, are gorgeous. I make this every Thanksgiving and when I suggest that I make other things (with Sweet Potato Soufflé), i get booed and hissed.
    Flavors of the Sun recently posted..Cookbooks and a Long-Overdue SoupMy Profile

    • Joan says:

      I think if you give them traditional food in non-traditional ways, there shouldn’t be any complaints. I’d like to see you re-do your modern version for your Thanksgiving and share it on your blog.

  3. I write a weekly food blog – – and I love to see contemporary twists on traditional recipes; particularly when the traditional version involves opening a can :)

    This looks terrific!

  4. Joan, this might be the most creative green bean casserole I’ve ever seen. And the spaghetti on top just makes it. Wow.
    Sam @ My Carolina Kitchen recently posted..Herbed Shrimp and White Beans with Arugula – dinner in 30 minutesMy Profile

  5. Joan – this looks amazing! I always cringe with the other one but yours is mouthwatering! Great presentation! THANK YOU for sharing!

  6. Beautiful! I recall when that recipe was the height of haute cuisine! You made it much more gorgeous than I ever thought possible….but, that is what you do!
    A Canadian Foodie recently posted..Homemade Hand-rolled Bolognese Pasta: Taglietelle, Tortelloni, Tortellini and PiselliMy Profile

  7. Faith says:

    This is gorgeous, Joan! I love your remake of this dish. The fried spaghetti was genius.
    Faith recently posted..White Bean Casserole with Crunchy Onion ToppingMy Profile

  8. Marie says:

    This is brilliant, I love the whole idea especially with the fried spaghetti!
    Marie recently posted..A Virtual Pot of Pasta Fagioli Soup for my FriendsMy Profile

  9. I am off to make mine and you really make it hard on us after this rendition. The fried Spaghetti was a brilliant idea….
    Platanos Mangoes & Me! recently posted..STUFFED CABBAGE – REPOLLO RELLENOMy Profile

  10. Foodiewife says:

    I love this makeover a lot. The fried spaghetti is a clever substitute for fried onions. Happy Thanksgiving!

  11. Erica says:

    What a great idea,Joan!It looks delicious!I can’t wait to see the other creations!
    Erica recently posted..Jugo de Tamarindo (Tamarind Juice)My Profile

  12. I have never had the classic and now I’d have only yours any time. Oh the parmesan bechamel, the porcini nd anchovies. Very refreshing makeover.

  13. Trix says:

    Ha, I am surprised to see soy sauce as well, That would have been FAR too exotic for my father, lol. This is a very elegant transformation.
    Trix recently posted..Cheddar Cheese Soup with Haricots Verts, Mushrooms, & Cronions; A Green Bean Casserole MakeoverMy Profile

  14. Lori Lynn says:

    Super makeover Joan!
    Fried spaghetti, brilliant!
    Once again you take the challenge up a notch.

    I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.
    Lori Lynn recently posted..Stuffed Mushrooms “Green Bean Casserole Style”My Profile

  15. Katie says:

    I’ve been making an updated version of this since moving to Argentina (no Campbell’s soup here!). Your spin on it is definitely interesting.
    Katie recently posted..2012 Argentina Holiday Gift GuideMy Profile

  16. An excellent makeover, Joan! I love the fried spaghetti topping!

  17. Victoria says:

    Excellent. I love that each component in the original recipe had a counterpart in yours. It looks fantastic :)
    Victoria recently posted..Exploring Armenia 8: KarabakhMy Profile

  18. I never knew about the soy sauce, interesting. But your beautiful version with that gorgeous fried spaghetti is genius!

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