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Green Beans Garlic Sauce


1 1/2 lbs. green beans
4 oz. fresh Shitake mushrooms (optional)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese (optional)
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
pinch of fresh basil and oregano, minced
pinch of red pepper flakes
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs (optional)
8 cloves garlic, peeled


In a saucepan, bring 5 cups water to a boil with 1 tablespoon salt. Add fresh green beans (strings and ends removed). Boil beans for 4-5 minutes, until tender but not overcooked. When tender, shock beans in a bowl of ice water to prevent overcooking and retain bright green color. Remove after 30 seconds and let drain in colander.

In a large heavy bottom skillet, heat olive oil with cloves of garlic and mushrooms. Saut, until garlic becomes tan, but not brown. Mash garlic into oil with the tines of a fork. Add cooled beans, parsley, butter and remaining ingredients. Toss with cheese and bread crumbs (optional) and serve when butter has melted.

Cook's Note: Garlic cloves may be removed before serving, or left in for added flavor, as desired. Garlic can be pureed or pressed through a sieve, but this will eliminate the "roasted" garlic flavor which characterizes this dish. May be served either warm or cold (if served cold, omit butter).

Variations: A strip of lean bacon or Pancetta may be saut,ed in olive oil before adding garlic, then crumbled in. For a piquant flavor, the beans may be served cold, as a salad, and dressed with a few drops of freshly squeezed lemon or balsamic vinegar.

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