The striking colours of the beans inside echo their brightly marbled shell. In the right light, a bowl full of these long, bright pods left on the kitchen table reminds me of a still life by Caravaggio. Once shelled and cooked, however, they lose their Carrara-like markings and attain a meatiness and flavour seldom found in the world of vegetables.
1 kg borlotti beans
6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
good cup of roughly-chopped flat-leaf parsley
salt and pepper
This is the simplest way to prepare these beans.
Shell 1kg of borlotti beans (weight includes shell) and place them in a pot well covered with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer until tender - about 20-30 minutes. Drain them but keep half a cup of their cooking liquid.
Place them in a large bowl with the saved cooking liquid and add 6 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, a good cup of roughly-chopped flat-leaf parsley, salt and pepper and mix well while they are still hot.
Serve them as they are or cool to room temperature.