My mother's friend brought the seeds of these beautiful runner beans back from Italy sometime last year, and they were finally harvested. I have to admit, I kinda like the idea of her secreting seeds away in her purse and steeling across international borders. All for the love of gardening. Actually, it was all probably on the up and up, but I still giggle at the idea of a sweet bespectacled lady responding innocently to the Customs agent, "Only a liter of Chianti, sir."
Really, I absolutely do not condone smuggling or any illegal behavior. I promise. I blame it on my evil twin who likes the naughtiness of it all. Like drinking Cuban rum.
These beans are huge! And they are so tender and buttery. We steamed them until slightly soft, but still with some crispness, then simply tossed them with a little butter and salt and pepper.
I love when food takes the least amount of preparation, yet tastes more divine than anything.
(And, I swear, smuggled beans from Italy do taste just a little sweeter. But don't tell!)