Total time: About 1 hour, 25 minutes
Servings: 6 to 8 as an appetizer or side dish
1/4 pound pancetta, in 1 slice about 1/2 -inch thick
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/4 cups chopped onions, about 1 medium
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 1/2 pounds Romano beans, stems removed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 pound cherry tomatoes, cut in half
1 tablespoon minced fresh basil
1. Unroll the pancetta and cut it into pieces about one-half-inch long. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, add the pancetta and cook until the meat is well-browned and has rendered much of its fat, about 8 minutes.
2. Pour off all but about 2 tablespoons of the fat, return the pan to the heat and add the onions. Cook until the onions are tender, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and the Romano beans and stir them with the onions and pancetta. Add the salt and three-fourths cup water and reduce the heat to medium.
3. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the beans are silky in texture and extremely flavorful, about 45 minutes. If the mixture begins to cook dry, add a little more water.
4. When the beans are cooked, remove the lid and cook long enough to evaporate most of the remaining water, about 5 minutes.
5. Reduce the heat to low and add the cherry tomatoes. Cook until they are warmed through. Serve either warm or at room temperature, first stirring in the basil and tasting and correcting the seasoning.
Each of 8 servings: 155 calories; 5 grams protein; 14 grams carbohydrates; 5 grams fiber; 10 grams fat; 2 grams saturated fat; 7 mg. cholesterol; 536 mg. sodium.