This has been the year of the Broad Bean in our household. A rarely used vegetable before last year, it is again a focus for us this Spring – we found that we actually love Broad Beans. Our local Italian green grocery near our new house has large amounts of them – something that our inner-city grocery did not carry, even during Spring – so it is easy for us to celebrate this humble bean.
When you buy broad beans, young and fresh is best – they have a sheen on the pod, and will be bright green, crisp to the touch and without any black marks or blemishes. Pods are usually about 10cm long.
This pasta dish celebrates all that is Spring. Fresh and herby, it is a delight. We have used broad beans here, but it could easily use asparagus, peas or the last of the globe artichokes of the season. Or use them all together!
Remember to double-peel broad beans. Remove them from the pod, then scald them for around 30 – 60 seconds. Place in cold water then drain. With a sharp small knife make a nick in the top or side of each bean and slip it out of its skin.
Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint
spaghetti, enough for 2 people
12 – 18 broad beans, podded and each large bean peeled (smaller beans can be left as they are)
1 clove garlic, chopped coarsley
0.5 cup mint leaves, chopped
several stalks of parsley – leaves plucked and chopped coarsely with the stems
several chopped chives
1 spring onions (scallions), chopped, or use chives
0.5 Tblspn red wine vinegar
sea salt and black pepper
extra virgin olive oil
Cook the spaghetti in boiling, salted water until al dente.
While the pasta is cooking, saute the broad beans and chopped garlic in olive oil until cooked.
Put aside a few broad beans, a little mint and a little parsley.
Drain the pasta when cooked, reserving a little of the cooking water. Season with salt and pepper. Add the broad beans and garlic, the mint, parsley and chives or spring onion. Toss. Drizzle with the red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil, and add enough of the cooking liquid to moisten the pasta well.
Top with reserved broad beans and herbs and the toasted bread crumbs. Serve and enjoy.
recipe notes and alternatives
I don’t tend to keep breadcrumbs in the pantry, so when they are called for I will often toast a piece of pitta, tefan or bread well and crush into pieces or chop into small pieced. Today I toasted a little taftoon over the BBQ as I was also roasting peppers for a side dish. Taftoon is a Persian or Middle Eastern flatbread that I get fresh from the tandoor at my local Afghan grocery.
We have used broad beans here, but it could easily use asparagus, peas or the last of the globe artichokes of the season. Or use them all together!