On the day that I picked 3 kg of broad beans, I knew I had to find some additional recipes. We have some wonderful broad bean dishes, but I was looking for something new and different. We had recently made Avocado and Broad Bean Mash (delicious), and this time it was a rift on that recipe, combining a herby and lemony broad bean mix with ricotta flavoured with roasted garlic. What could be better? Slather it on sourdough toast. (You can make it with frozen broad beans too.)
We have made this successfully with cream cheese instead of the ricotta. We’ve been keeping cream cheese handy lately, it is so versatile. We love to pile it onto fresh bread or toast and then top it with pistachio butter. I can’t tell you how good this is.
The recipe for this broad bean and ricotta spread comes from Ottolenghi- we are currently cooking our way through his book Plenty More. We feel free to substitute ingredients that are not readily available in our local area.
It is Ottolenghi Cooking the Books Day on the blog – one day per month where we publish the latest recipes we have tried in our project of cooking from Ottolenghi’s books – those we have cooked directly and those we have been inspired by. Currently we are cooking from Plenty More, but not ignoring his other books completely. Note that I often massage the recipes to suit what is available from our garden and pantry. For the original recipes, check his books and his Guardian column.
Browse all of our Broad Bean dishes and our Spreads. Our Ottolenghi dishes from Plenty More are here. We have written about our experiences cooking through this book. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.
Broad Bean Spread with Roasted Garlic Ricotta
10 cloves garlic, separated, skin on
125 ml olive oil
240 g ricotta
3 Tblspn sour cream
2 lemons, rind shaved in long strips from one; 2 tspn finely grated zest from the other
600 g broad beans (400 g if starting with peeled beans) – frozen or fresh
1.5 Tblspn lemon juice
15 g mint leaves, chopped, plus 1 Tblspn shredded mint leaves to garnish
sea salt and black pepper
Preheat the oven to 220ºC.
Mix the garlic cloves with 1 tspn of the olive oil, place on a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes in the oven, until soft. Remove from the oven and when cool enough to handle, squash each garlic clove out of its skin using the back of a fork. Discard the skin and place the pulp in a small bowl with the ricotta, soured cream, a little sea salt and some black pepper. Use a whisk to mix everything together well and set aside.
While the garlic is cooking, place the remaining olive oil in a small saucepan with the shaved lemon skin. Place on a medium heat, bring to a gentle simmer, then remove from the heat to cool and infuse.
At the same time, bring a large pan of water to the boil. Add the broad beans, blanch for 1 – 2 minutes, drain and then remove them from their skins. Crush the beans with a fork (or pulse very quickly in a food processor), add all but 15 ml of the lemon-infused oil (removing the skin first), lemon juice, chopped mint, a little sea salt and some black pepper. Mix together.
Spread the ricotta in a thin layer on to the base of each individual plate or one larger platter. Spoon the broad bean mixture on top, lightly spreading it out to cover most of the ricotta. Sprinkle over the shredded mint and grated lemon zest and finish with a drizzle of the lemon-infused oil.
recipe notes and alternatives
Mint is a marvellous accompaniment to broad beans. However in Spring the garden is teaming with herbs and small, tender greens. I mix some tender young broad bean leaves and some other soft herbs (eg bronze fennel, parsley, tiny leaves of spinach and other greens, flat chives, etc) for a lovely herbaceous broad bean topping.
Left overs can be stirred through rice, used in a wrap, stirred into a mix of tahini and yoghurt, or mixed into a chopped salad. Here it is stirred through a yoghurt-tahini mix.
The ricotta can also be replaced with cream cheese if desired.
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | Amounts are approximate and a little flexible, unless specified.