Tip: Long, flat Italian (Romano) beans range in color from green to purple--or even speckled. Find them at farmers' markets from summer through fall. You can also pick them up in the frozen aisle. They're from the same family as garden-variety green beans and have a similar grassy flavor, but are more substantial and meaty.
To make ahead: Refrigerate the stew (Step 1) for up to 2 days.
Equipment: 4- to 7-qt. slow cooker
3 1/2 starch, 1 1/2 fat, 1 1/2 vegetable, 1/2 lean protein