Pizza ai Quattro Fagioli (Bevier)

How do you make a green bean pizza sound appealing? Our gimmick was to use four kinds of beans and call them fagioli.

Use any recipe you like for the crust. Here's what we did. Let a packet of yeast proof in some lukewarm milk and a tsp. of sugar. Combine with three cups flour, 1 tsp. salt, 1/4 cup olive oil and a tsp. each of basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram and garlic powder. After creating the dough, let it rise for an hour, then roll it out into a sheet pan.

We used a combined pound of California snap beans, yellow wax beans, some purple beans, and Chinese long beans. Let's face it, it doesn't matter what you choose, but it is important to honor the word quattro. You could put merely four beans on the pizza but this wouldn't be in the spirit of the exercise. Simmer the beans for about 15 minutes in salted water until just tender. Rinse them in cold water to stop cooking. Caramelize one large onion or two small ones. Cook several cloves of sliced garlic with the onions. Cook 5 strips of bacon until crisp.

Drizzle the crust with olive oil. Lay on the green beans, caramelized onion, and garlic. Crumble the bacon over the vegetables. Top with sliced fresh mozzarella and grated parmesan. Sprinkle with a little more Italian seasoning. Bake at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes until the crust and cheese brown. The result is really quite edible. Next year: our Chicago Style Deep Dish Firehouse Green Bean Pizza!

Moroccan Green Bean and Chickpea Soup (Russinoff)

Soak 3/4 lb. dried chickpeas overnight in a large pot of water.

Clean 2 lb. green beans and cut into 3/4-inch pieces. Chop 2 leeks, 2 carrots, 3 celery stalks, 3 poblano chiles, and 8 or so cloves of garlic. Heat 4 tbs. butter and 4 tbs. olive oil in a wide pan and sauté the green beans and chopped vegetables over medium heat for 5 minutes. Add 1 tbs. turmeric, 2 tbs. ground cumin, and salt and cayenne to taste. Continue cooking for 5 minutes more.

Transfer the mixture to a pot and add 2 quarts chicken stock, the chickpeas, 2 bay leaves, and 1/2 cup minced parsley. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer for an hour or so, until the green beans and chickpeas are tender. Adjust seasoning to taste.

Remove half of the solids, puree in a food processor, and return to the soup. Add another 1/2 cup minced parsley and serve hot.

Solomon's Green Beans with Pancetta and Shallots (Russinoff)

Roughly chop 1/2 lb. of sliced pancetta and sauté in a little olive oil until almost crisp. Remove the pancetta from the pan with a slotted spoon. Add about 5 chopped shallots and 1 1/2 lb. green beans to the grease in the pan and cook briefly over high heat. Add 1 cup chicken stock and some ground black pepper, lower the heat, and simmer until the beans are tender. Stir in some chopped oregano and serve hot.