Summer on a plate – pasta with broad beans

June 11, 2010

Eating pasta

With summer  kind of back this week’s bag seems perfect – we have cherries, Marc Michel’s lovely baby leaves use asap to get them at their best), spinach which I’ll be wilting then tossing in sauteed Garlic,and of course, broad beans.

I’ll admit they do require a bit of faffing around at the beginning – you have to pop them out of their pods, boil them in unsalted water til tender then pop them out of their skins. Don’t panic. The first step is to pour a glass of wine and sit down, it’ll only take a few minutes and I always find it relaxing. Yesterday evening I enlisted Auggie (2) to do the initial podding and he had a ball.

Auggie shelling beans

Got a kid?? Put them to work!!

You’ll probably be a bit alarmed to find that the end result is a small bowl of green beans that don’t really look like they’ll amount to much but don’t worry the way forward is with pasta (although they are delicious mashed up with some Olive Oil and sea Salt)

Yep, this is all you get………

Cup of shelled broadbeans

I almost always start the broad bean season making a dish with pancetta, cream and parmesan. It’s a firm favourite here. There’s a veggie variation with garlic instead of bacon and it’s fab too.

Pasta with Broad Beans, Pancetta, Cream and Parmesan (for 2)

You’ll need:

400gr Broad Beans (about what you have in this week’s bag)

100gr Pancetta finely diced or 4 streaky rashers finely chopped

Olive Oil

125ml cream


Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

First of all prepare the beans as everything else will take 10 minutes after they’re done. Pod them then steam for about 4-5 minutes until tender. Rinse in cold water so they’re cool enough to pop out of their skin. If this seems tricky, I find that making an incision with my thumbnail to the top of each bean before I pop it works well. When they are done set aside. Put the kettle on for the pasta and heat a frying pan. Gently saute the bacon until it has darkened. Put on the pasta whenever the water is ready. Add the beans to the pancetta and continue to saute for a minute. Turn the heat way down and pour in the cream. Add a generaous pinch of salt and lots of black pepper. You don’t really want the cream to start reducing just to warm through so be careful not to leave it on the hob too long. As you can see from the photo you want things quite liquidy as the heat from the pasta will thicken the sauce for you.Finally add the pasta and mix well. Serve immediately with parmesan.

Pasta with Broad Beans, Garlic, Cream and Parmesan

You’ll need:

400gr Broad Beans (about what you have in this week’s bag)

1 Medium Onion

6 Cloves Garlic

Olive Oil

Salt and Pepper


Freshly grated Parmesan Cheese

First of all chop your onion and begin cooking  it over a lowish heat in plenty of olive oil. You want it sweet and melt in the mounth so be careful not to cook it too fast. Prepare the beans as above and while they’re  are cooking, put the kettle on for the pasta and chop the garlic. At this stage your onion should be done. Add another  dash of olive oil and throw in the garlic. It’s also time to put on the pasta (told you this was fast) When the garlic has softened and turned translucent, add the beans and toss until they’ve warmed through then add salt (Maldon, as always, would be my preference) and plenty of black pepper. If the pasta’s ready, drain it and toss with the beans in the pan adding another glug of Olive Oil. Toss well so the garlicy oil coats all the pasta. Add some parmesan and serve.

Variations: a handful of roughly chopped walnuts thrown in at the end works well and a couple of finely chopped sundried tomatoes are also good in this dish

This week’s cherries are of course the perfect end to this meal……….


2 Responses to “Summer on a plate – pasta with broad beans”

  1. Margaret Says:

    read this post and reminded me of broad beans. Dan looked so happy ! am not a pasta or cream type so made a risotto with pancetta, broad beans, courgette, lemon and mint yum . I felt like Dan horsing it down. Personally I only skin the bigger beans too much effort

  2. Dani Says:

    Made this last night and loved it. It really was summer on a plate. Thanks Sarah

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