From Kathleen Purvis blog Ill Bite, at obsbite.blogspot.com:
Every summer, I watch for those flat, meaty green beans that are sometimes called Roma or Romano beans and sometimes called broad or flat beans. You dont see many recipes for using them. But late last summer, I saw one in Gravy, the newsletter of the Southern Foodways Alliance, for a roasted version from Sheila and Matt Neal of Neals Deli in Carrboro.
Since Matt is the son of the late Southern chef Bill Neal, I figured the Neals would know how to cook some good pole beans. It was too late in the summer to use the recipe last year, so I set it aside and waited. And waited: This summers rains played havoc with all kinds of produce, cutting into our usual summer multitude of green bean varieties.
I never have spotted Roma beans this year, but I finally happened on some thick string beans that I knew would work. For this treatment, you need something solid and meaty green beans at least as thick as a finger. Theres no quick-sauteing those kinds of beans. Theyre the kind that would be tough unless you take extra time. This method is perfect for that, and a mess of them will last several days.
BREAK the stems off the green beans, pulling off the strings, but leave the pods whole. Place in a roasting pan with the garlic and onion. Cut the tomato in half and squeeze lightly to remove most of the seeds. With a wide grater, grate the tomato over the green beans until you get down to the skin. Sprinkle with the sugar, pepper, pepper flakes and salt. Add the water and oil.
PLACE a sheet of parchment directly on the green beans, then cover the roasting pan tightly with foil or a lid. Roast at 350 degrees for about 1 hour 15 minutes, stirring every 15 minutes, until beans are tender.
Yield: About 6 servings.