String Beans Stewed in Tomato Sauce (Fagiolini in umido)

stewed string beans with tomatoes and onions
green beans with tomatoes and potatoes

One of the most popular side dishes in Calabria is String Beans Stewed in Tomato Sauce or Fagiolini in umido.  The key to this very simple recipe is a good basic tomato sauce and fresh green beans (broad beans work as well).  This dish is a variation of our fried potato and broad bean recipe.  String beans in tomato sauce go well with a frittata, roasted chicken, seared piece of meat or fish, or with some cheese, salumi, olives, and good bread.

String Beans in Tomato Sauce Recipe


  • Roughly 1 pound of green beans
  • 3-4 medium sized tomatoes (Roma, San Marzano, and Plum are ideal)
  • 1 small red onion
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 small potato
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Fresh basil
  • Olive Oil


Trim the ends from the green beans and wash well.  Next, remove the skin from the tomatoes via a quick plunge in boiling water (about 20-30 seconds or until you begin to see the skin crack).  Carefully remove the skin and seeds from the tomatoes and chop coarsely; add the tomatoes, red onion, and garlic to a hot pan with olive oil.  Cook the mixture for about 10 minutes.  Next, add the green beans, Kosher salt, cubed potatoes, and freshly ground black pepper to the pan.  Mix well, add a bit of water and place a lid on the pan.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until the potatoes are soft.  Add the minced basil and serve hot or at room temperature.
A note on the tenderness of the beans: you’re looking to cook your beans completely through, but you certainly don’t want the beans to turn into mush.  Further, you have two options for the tomato sauce in this recipe, viz., 1. create a loose tomato sauce so that you can mop up the sauce with good bread or 2. reduce the tomato sauce to a thicker consistency.  I opt for for technique number one.
The dish goes well with most fish (but especially swordfish and fried whole sardine), grilled steak, and roasted chicken.


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  2. I have!  We just say we’re having, “green beans with tomatoes and potatoes.”  I usually serve it as a main course on nights I don’t cook meat.

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