Summer doesn’t have to mean an end to warm cozy meals! This Calabrese-inspired romano bean and potato ragout is made with seasonal vegetables and familiar flavors – the ultimate feel-good food. 

This post was sponsored by Pompeian. As always, my thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that keep me inspired in the kitchen.


This is the one time in your life when someone is going to give you permission to fight fire with fire.

And by that I mean 90 degree weather with 90 degree stew. Plus red pepper flakes.

Plus I want to bathe in a hot tub full of this. <–Normal reaction.

calabrese romano bean and potato ragout

I got a big bag full of Romano beans in my CSA last week and at first they incurred some MAJOR head scratching because AN ITALIAN BEAN?! That I’ve never heard of?!

How could this be possible.

I still have no answers for these rhetorical questions, but after a lot of pacing and an inappropriate amount of interweb searching, I can at least tell you that apparently Romano beans are the pride and joy of the Italian bean scene. They’re kind of like green beans, but flatter and heartier.

And they stew really well.

(Sources: Google, Wikipedia, My Kitchen)

PicMonkey Collage

Yes, I get that it is ninety million degrees where you are, but simple stews like this are perfect for summer eating because they really let the produce of the season shine. However, this is also a double-edged sword in that, because the ingredients are so few, you really have to make sure that each one is of good quality; even one off-flavor component can ruin the whole pot. All of the veggies I used in this dish were locally sourced, which made them as fresh as possible at the exclusion of me actually heading over to the farm to pluck them off a tree that very day.

And then there was the olive oil.

Olive oil has always been a bit of a head scratcher for me because at the grocery store there always seems to be about a million bottles with no discriminating information about what distinguishes the extra virgin olive oil from the cold pressed extra virgin olive oil from the extra extra virgin olive oil with a cherry on top, nor is there a blinking neon arrow pointing to the one I should bring home with me. Bummer.

I still don’t claim to be an expert, but with a little help from my friends over at Pompeian, at least I now know how to taste it properly! They hosted a webcast recently for all of us Pompeian #PantryInsiders, along with one of their top olive oil experts, Dr. Luisito Cercaci, where they schooled us in the fine art of olive oil tasting. And because I am an olive oil enthusiast, and I want everyone to have only positive experiences with olive oil always, I shall share my knowledge. <3

First, you want to make sure your olive oil is warm. To do this, you can pour the amount that you want to use for your tasting into a small cup and warm it up in your hands. This allows the flavors of the olive oil to really come alive and ripen. Next, you want to smell the olive oil for a good 10-15 seconds, trying to take in just how fruity it is. Some olive oils will have more floral notes, some will be fruity, some will be grassy – each one is special in its own way. Finally, the actual TASTING! To really taste olive oil, you have to take a few sips into your mouth and then sweep it around your tongue while making this very cool slurping sound. This will help you to characterize the bitterness of the oil. Different oils can have very different flavor profiles, and because of this, they each have their own niche for what they are best used for. For this stew in particular, I used Pompeian’s Arbequina Varietal, which has a very fruity smell and a delicate bittersweetness, redolent of nuts such as almonds. These flavors pair perfectly with a big bowl of veggies and compliment the sweet notes that they bring to this stew.

On that note.


Who’s going hot tub stew bathing with me?

You know you want to.

Calabrese Romano Bean and Potato Ragu
Summer doesn't have to mean an end to warm cozy meals! This Calabrese-inspired romano bean and potato ragout is made with seasonal vegetables and familiar flavors - the ultimate feel-good food.
Yield: 6-8 servings
  • 1 lb romano beans or string beans
  • 24 oz fingerling potatoes
  • ½ cup Arbequina extra virgin olive oil, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 lb spinach, washed and dried
  • 28 oz canned whole tomatoes
  1. Cut each bean into three pieces, crosswise. Set aside. Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and then cut crosswise into ¼-inch slices.
  2. Put the potatoes in a large pot and cover with cold water. Bring to a boil and then simmer for one minute. Drain.
  3. In a large pot, heat ¼ cup olive oil over medium heat. Add in the potatoes and saute until tender and starting to brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in the garlic and salt, to taste. Cook for a minute, then remove the potato mixture to a bowl and set aside.
  4. In the same pot, heat the remaining olive oil along with the water. Stir in the romano beans, red pepper flakes, and oregano. Cook until the beans are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the spinach and cook until wilted.
  5. Pour potatoes and the juice from the tomatoes into the pot, and then crush the whole tomatoes with your hand as you add them to the pot. Cook until tomatoes start to break down and mixture starts to thicken, about 10 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper, and then serve warm.
Nutrition Information
Serving size: 1 bowl


For more summer stews, check out these:

oaxacan green mole stew

Oaxacan Green Mole Stew

summer potatoes stewed with eggplant, peppers and olives

Summer Potatoes Stewed with Eggplant, Peppers, and Olives

latin corn soup

Latin Corn Soup

From Around the Web:

Summer Vegetable Curry from 101 Cookbooks

Tomato Artichoke Lentil Stew from A Couple Cooks

Country-Style Vegetable Stew from Dana Treat

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup from Cookie + Kate

Chilled Carrot Soup with Scape-Pistachio Pesto from Healthy Delicious


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40 Responses to Calabrese Romano Bean and Potato Ragout

  1. I think it’s amazing how much a good amount of olive oil can make a dish better. I just love that stuff! Loved your little ‘tasting lesson’! Thank you – plus, of course the dish sounds wonderful. No problem that it’s hot for me – it’s winter here!

  2. Delicious looking dish! And love the tips on tasting olive oil – I had no idea how to properly do that 🙂

  3. Barbara says:

    That is one great looking stew, Joanne. Hot food is supposed to make you cooler. I’ve seen those beans in my fresh market, have eaten them, but had no idea what they were called. They are the perfect size for this dish.
    Great photos…I really should take more time with mine.

  4. Deena kakaya says:

    Now I love a summer salad with all it’s fresh lightness but I tend to get hungry quickly so your protein fuelled dish is a welcome idea for me. Your even level of tomatoes and herbs gives this dish a certain summer feel. X

  5. “Hot tub stew bathing”. Ha! I love it! And I totally wanna do it! This stew sounds amazing, Joanne! Hearty and filling but fresh enough for a summery dinner! Totally want this for dinner tonight! 🙂

  6. Lucky you – I’ve never gotten romano beans in my CSA box. Love how good this summer stew sounds and looks – beautiful!

  7. What a delicious looking dish! Thanks for all the tips on tasting olive oil. It’s wonderful how much better a dish can taste with olive oil. Love your recipe too 😉

  8. Warm or long as there are veggies there for the dinner, I am happy. This veggie ragout looks very delicious!

  9. Monica says:

    I’m totally down with countering heat with heat. This looks great. I would so happily eat anything that comes out of your kitchen! : )

  10. Kinsey says:

    I love all the olive oil tips! My favorite type of olive oil is extra-virgin Arbequina as well; it’s so green and grassy without being too bitter and it has a lovely floral flavor. And with some good heat, potatoes, and beans? It’s vegetarian paradise!

  11. HAHAHA -“hot tub stew bathing” you are cracking me up girl! Even if it was 100 degrees outside, I would make this AND eat it – but I wouldn’t want to bathe in it as there will be less for me to eat! 🙂

  12. Looks delicious! It seems like I could learn a lot more about olive oil!

  13. Kathy says:

    Very nice dish, Joanne! Last Sept., at a food bloggers conference, I went to an olive oil tasting! It was quite informative and interesting!

  14. Zainab says:

    Hot tub stew bath? Yes please!!! 😉

  15. This looks great! I think I can substitute sugar snap peas for the beans and it would equally be as yummy!

  16. That recipe sounds amazing, not to mention it’s a beautiful photo! Thanks for all of the interesting info on olive oil. I’m sure I should be more picky when selecting mine. ;-D And I appreciate your lovely comments on my blog!

  17. Pam says:

    It looks hearty and healthy and super delicious!

  18. Eileen says:

    Hooray, vegetables! I know summer stews are underrated, but aren’t they good? With all the fresh veg around, the flavor is really just perfect. NOM.

  19. Ohh we grow these beans at home and they’re fab indeed! (And they stew nicely!) I cannot wait to try this ragout. I can foresee it being my dinner soon 😉

  20. how yummy. I mean, really i didn’t think ragout could look so good. You make me want to be cold so I can eat this and it warm me up

  21. Leah Davis says:

    I’m totally digging this hearty vegetarian soup!! Oh and btw – The Fault In Our Stars is next on my reading list!! 🙂

  22. Kelly says:

    Hahaha I could always go for a hot stew bath if it’s jam packed with veggies….especially one that looks this delicious! Love all the pretty colors of this ragout, it sounds incredible!

  23. Krista says:

    This looks very nourishing, Joanne. 🙂 Definitely the sort of thing I’d like on this blustery day.

  24. Danguole says:

    I’m having a similar reaction to seeing gorgeous cranberry beans at the farmer’s market! There’s this beautiful Italian pasta dish, but… MUCH HOT. Many sweat. Such 100 degrees.

    You’ve inspired me to woman up and sweat through it, though! This looks like it’s worth every premature hot flash.

  25. Olive oil tasting is an amazing experience and I know you must have loved it. Nice to have a new ingredient to play with 🙂

  26. My husband is the olive oil chooser in our house – but his approach has flaws, as it mostly involves working through brands until he finds one that ‘doesn’t smell’ and ‘adds flavour’ when he cooks. Which is once per week. So it is rather a trial and error process, and I am glad you have some more help at your end! This ragout sounds wonderful, for any weather.

  27. All those fresh vegetables and delicious flavours simmering together, can’t wait to try it! 😀

    Choc Chip Uru

  28. Kate says:

    We’ve been doing a lot of warm and cozy this summer for some reason. We even had soup this week!

  29. I agree, it’s so stinking hot here but I still want a nice hot dinner once and a while after a long day. This ragout is seriously my sort of comfort food as is that potato and eggplant dish!

  30. Mary Frances says:

    1. Fighting the hot weather with hot stew -> I don’t think that should make sense, but it totally does.
    2. Baking in hot stew when it is hot outside-> ditto. Why do I want to do this??
    3. Simple stews need to be a summer thing. THAT makes sense.

  31. Emma says:

    I’m all for Summer Stews, delicious!

  32. I’ve never heard of this bean, either! Although, I’m not Italian, so I say I get a pass. I eat salad in winter and soup in summer. The body wants, what the body wants!

  33. Reeni says:

    I will happily jump in this hot tub with you! Even in 100 degree weather. I’ve had these beans a few times and love them! They’re perfectly suited for stew and go real well with potatoes too.

  34. Johanna GGG says:

    I think I have seen this sort of beans but never heard of romano so maybe I just met their cousins! And as for olive oil – I wish I knew it better. I am quite sure I would love your ragout but perhaps a little less pepper flakes

  35. My FIL is Calabrese – he loooooves stuff like this. Yum!

  36. Becky says:

    When do you add the potatoes back in? I put them in with the tomatoes. It seemed to work out well.

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