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Her husband's love of crispy prosciutto transformed a green bean casserole

Becky Ellis, who likes to put her own spin on recipes, added prosciutto to a classic green bean dish.
Becky Ellis
Collage by NPR
Becky Ellis, who likes to put her own spin on recipes, added prosciutto to a classic green bean dish.

All Things We're Cooking is a series featuring family recipes from you, our readers and listeners, and the special stories behind them. We'll continue to share more of your kitchen gems throughout the holidays.


In Becky Ellis' house, a Thanksgiving table is not complete unless there is a green bean casserole — and most times there are actually two kinds of the popular side dish on the table.

Ellis lives in Roanoke, Va., where she grew up having her mom's green bean casserole. But as a food blogger and recipe developer, Ellis likes to put her own spin on things and decided to experiment with the classic dish by adding prosciutto.

"My husband loves prosciutto, but he likes it baked or fried. He likes it crispy," Ellis said, while explaining her inspiration for the addition.

The prosciutto is fried to a crisp in a pan before it is set aside on paper towels that soak up some of the oil. Ellis then boils the fresh green beans till tender — adding ham hocks for flavor. The green beans then get tossed with a cup of shaved Parmesan and half a cup of panko breadcrumbs before the entire mixture is topped with lots of butter pats and finished off with the crumbled prosciutto.

Unlike many traditional recipes, Ellis' prosciutto green bean casserole does not include cream of mushroom soup or fried onions, but that doesn't mean people like it any less.

"I always take the prosciutto green bean casserole to any holiday event — you know, Thanksgiving, Christmas," she said. "And if I didn't show up with it, then they [would] send me home to make it because they loved it that much.'

If there was any doubt about the recipe her husband, Lou, inspired, Ellis has gotten what you might say is the ultimate seal of approval. "My nieces and nephews when they were teenagers, you know, teenagers are picky eaters, and they absolutely loved it," she said. "And so I knew that this is a good recipe."

The recipe comes together fairly quickly, but if you're prepping for a big get-together like Thanksgiving and want to save time, Ellis suggests frying up the prosciutto the day before.


  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh green beans
  • 1 ham hock
  • 3 ounces prosciutto (I use the packaged Boar's Head brand. Prosciutto sliced in the deli may not fry very well.)
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup shaved Parmesan
  • 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 stick butter, cut into small pats


Wash green beans and remove stems. Place them in a large pot of boiling water with the ham hock (no need to add salt, since this recipe has lots of salty ingredients).

Cook beans until they are just tender. Drain green beans and remove ham hock, then set aside.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.

Add vegetable oil to a frying pan and place over medium-high heat.

When oil is hot, place prosciutto slices in the pan and fry, turning once, until prosciutto is crispy.

Remove slices from pan and place on a plate lined with paper towels.

In a bowl, combine Parmesan and panko breadcrumbs.

Place green beans in a baking dish and sprinkle with panko breadcrumb mixture. Toss to combine.

Dot the green beans with the butter pats.

Crumble the prosciutto and sprinkle it over the green beans.

Place green beans in the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Copyright 2023 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Wynne Davis is a digital reporter and producer for NPR's All Things Considered.