Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Gemelli Al Fagiolini (Green Beans)

1/2 pound gemelli

2/3 pound green beans

1/2 cup heavy cream

Scant 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 garlic clove

This dish has been done before, but I break with tradition by adding cinnamon. Sam and Sam Clark, of Moro restaurant, introduced me to the rather wonderful combination of green beans and cinnamon, describing it as "naturally perfect." They served green beans with a walnut and cinnamon tarator. The recipe below would be lovely with walnuts, too – but here it is without.

Trim the tops from the green beans, but leave the tails which are rather attractive. Boil two-thirds of them in salted water until completely cooked (no crunch, but not overdone). Drain and puree in a blender whilst still hot with the cream, cinnamon, and garlic, then season with salt and pepper.

Put the pasta on to boil. About 4 minutes before it is done, add the remaining beans (cut in half to a similar length as the pasta). When moments from being perfectly cooked, drain and put in a frying pan with the pea-green sauce and a splash of pasta water. Cook together until al dente, and well coated in the sauce. Serve with either a sprinkling of grana cheese (Parmesan or the like) or a drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil. A scattering of chopped toasted walnuts would be a nice way to evoke the flavors of Moro.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit