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Thursday, July 19, 2012 - Page updated at 02:30 p.m.

Recipe: Charred Green Beans With Almond Marjoram Pesto


Makes 8 to 10 as a side dish

Pesto:

2 garlic cloves

1/2 cup fresh marjoram leaves (or use oregano leaves)

1/2 cup fresh basil leaves

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil

1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds

Beans:

3 tablespoons plus 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

2 pounds fresh young green beans, trimmed

5 garlic cloves, halved

1 small fresh hot chili, cored, seeded and minced; or 1 teaspoon hot red pepper flakes

6 tablespoons red wine vinegar

2 tablespoons sugar

1. First, make the pesto: Combine the garlic, marjoram, basil and salt in a food processor, and process until chopped. With the machine running, slowly add the olive oil in a thin stream. Add the almonds and pulse to form a smooth paste. Taste for seasoning, and set aside.

2. To prepare the beans: Heat a 12- to 14-inch cast-iron skillet over high heat. When it's hot enough to evaporate a bead of water, swirl 3 tablespoons of the oil around in the skillet. Add half of the green beans and saute for several minutes, stirring constantly, until they are just tender and starting to turn dark brown in spots. This should look and feel like a stir-fry. Transfer the beans to a plate, but keep the pan on the heat. Repeat with the remaining beans and set them aside.

3. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil to the skillet. Add the garlic and chili, and cook for about 1 minute. Add the vinegar and the sugar, and let it sputter for 10 seconds. Then return the still-warm beans to the skillet and stir until they are coated and hot.

4. To serve: Spread a thin layer of the almond pesto on a platter. Then pile the beans up and spoon more pesto over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

From "Molto Batali" by Mario Batali

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