For years I'd convinced myself of an intense dislike for lima beans — a dislike that was at odds with my fondness for pretty much every other kind of bean on the planet, but a dislike that I now think must have originated with the clammy blandness of canned lima beans that somehow manage to integrate their blandness into what would otherwise be tasty bean salads.
But that all changed with my introduction to "gigantes" several years ago at a Greek restaurant. A traditional Greek dish of giant lima beans (the "gigantes") baked in a rich herbed and seasoned tomato sauce, I've fallen in love with both the bean and the dish and have experimented with several versions since, both baked and stove-top.
The craving hit again recently, and this time I've transported the gigantes across the Mediterranean by simmering them on the stove-top in a rich and zesty herbed Italian tomato sauce. The basil, oregano and thyme tomato sauce is delicious enough to serve as a pasta sauce as well, but the light buttery taste of dried and cooked lima beans makes the two a perfect fit, and the lovely plump shapes of the lima beans look wonderful floating in the rich red sauce topped with some plump salty Kalamata olives.
Gigantes or giant lima beans can be found at Greek grocers or in the ethnic cuisine aisles of many supermarkets, but regular dried lima beans will work just as well — just don't use the canned beans! Do take care not to overcook the beans. You want them tender but not falling apart.
|Italian-Style Tomato and Herb Gigantes|
|Recipe by Lisa Turner|
Published on May 14, 2014
Plump buttery giant lima beans simmered in a rich and zesty Italian tomato sauce with basil, oregano and thyme
Other Italian-style dishes you may enjoy from Lisa's Kitchen:
Mushroom, Ricotta and Asiago Cheese Pizza
Hearty Italian Bean and Pasta Soup
Vegetarian Mushroom and Spinach Lasagne
Ricotta Gnudi with Homemade Chunky Tomato Sauce
On the top of the reading stack: Ancient Grains for Modern Meals: Mediterranean Whole Grain Recipes for Barley, Farro, Kamut, Polenta, Wheat Berries & More by Maria Speck
Audio Accompaniment: John Tejada