This hearty vegetable-based dish makes a meal on its own, though you can stir in shredded precooked chicken in the end, if you like. Use all green beans if Romano and yellow wax beans are unavailable.
3 slices center-cut bacon, thinly sliced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
6 ounces (1-inch) cut Romano beans
6 ounces (1-inch) cut green beans
6 ounces (1-inch) cut yellow wax beans
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
3 cups diced plum tomato (about 5 tomatoes)
1 1/2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, divided
1 teaspoon olive oil
8 (1/2-inch-thick) slices diagonally cut French bread baguette
1 garlic clove, halved
1/2 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
How to Make It
To prepare stew, cook the bacon in a Dutch oven over medium heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, and set aside.
Add garlic to drippings in pan; cook 2 minutes or until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Add red pepper; cook 20 seconds, stirring frequently. Add beans and salt; cook 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in tomatoes; cook 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Stir in broth, rosemary, and black pepper; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes or until beans are tender. Stir in 1/4 cup cheese.
Preheat oven to 425°.
To prepare crostini, brush oil evenly over cut sides of bread; rub bread with cut sides of garlic. Sprinkle one side of each piece of bread evenly with rosemary. Arrange slices on a baking sheet. Bake at 425° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned.
Ladle 1 1/4 cups soup into each of 4 bowls. Sprinkle each serving with 1 tablespoon cheese; serve each with 2 crostini.
Wine note: The crisp flavor of fresh beans is echoed beautifully in New Zealand's sauvignon blancs, where melon and passion fruit meet the green nuances of sweet peas and bell pepper. While some of these wines have crept up in price, the lively Starborough Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc 2007 ($10) is a good example at a great price, finishing dry with acidity that cuts the bacon like a knife. —Jeffery Lindenmuth
I made this according to the recipe, although I tossed the bacon bits in the stew when I served it. The recipe has you set them aside, but never re-introduces the bacon. Do not skip the red pepper flakes or the bacon because they are really the entire flavor foundation for this stew. Without them the stew would be a total failure. If making again, I might include a very flavorful chicken - like jerk chicken to kick up the flavor. You feel good putting it together, but it just didn't seem like it was ultimately worth the effort.
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