Pasta with Minty Broad Bean Puree and Crispy Garlic Chips

Broad Beans make great purees. You can use young pods, tender beans or dried fava beans, and we have some of those recipes here on the blog. One of the ways that you can use the puree is as a pasta sauce! That is what we are going today.

First we make a puree with broad beans, mint, garlic and pecorino. It is called Salsa Marò or simply Marò, from Liguria in Italy. It is often compared to a pesto, but it does not include nuts. Perhaps it more closely resembles the Nicois pistou which is similar to pesto without nuts.

Marò can be used as a dip or spread. Try the puree on a toasted piece of crunchy bread, perhaps with some soft cheese. But it also works well with pasta, as we do here. Use spaghetti, bucatini or penne – really it will work well with many different pastas, even oricchette.

Similar recipes include Spring Pasta with Broad Beans and Mint, Broad Beans with Crispy Garlic, and Pan Fried Broad Beans with Chilli, Lime and Garlic.

You can browse all of our Broad Bean dishes, all of our Pasta dishes, and our Purees of various forms. See just our Broad Bean Purees. Our Italian dishes are here. Or explore our Mid Spring recipes.

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Slow Braised Red Peppers in Olive Oil

When you are on your own (or not), and you have some left over red peppers in the fridge, and you are thinking, quick and easy eating for supper, take the red pepper (or two) and slow cook it in olive oil with some thyme (oh the aroma!).

Similar recipes include Roasted Red Pepper Salad with Mozzarella and White Beans, Grilled Sweet Peppers and Eggplant Salad, and Roasted Red Peppers Salad.

Browse all of our Capsicum recipes and all of our Italian dishes. Or simply browse our Mid Spring collection of dishes.

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Chickpea and Orzo Pasta Soup

Chickpeas combined with orzo (rice shaped pasta), other pasta or rice is quite common in Italy, Spain and Greece. The dishes are usually simply cooked, perhaps with one herb or spice addition. Garlic, saffron, rosemary and hot peppers are quite common choices.

Today we have a soup with chickpeas and orzo, flavoured with rosemary. It is a simple, rustic and delicate soup, meditative to eat and quiet in its flavour profile. But bang full of nutrition and so very enjoyable. It can be a meal in itself, perhaps with a green salad and crusty bread to follow.

Similar recipes include Chickpea and Carrot Salad, Falafel, and Rice and Orzo.

Browse all of our Orzo dishes, and all of our Pasta recipes. Our Chickpea dishes are here and Greek recipes here. Or browse our Early Spring collection of recipes.

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Florentine Fennel with Parmesan

Elizabeth David has a lovely recipe for gratineed fennel that is a simple and refreshing dish. It’s a dish that bakes fennel with cheese, and of course, butter. This dish can also be cooked in a covered BBQ.

We adore fennel, as you can tell by our recipes. It can be eaten raw, steamed, sauteed, grilled, BBQ’d, baked and gratineed. It can be cooked on it’s own, or combined with other ingredients. You can make soups, salads and sides. One of the easiest salads to make is to shave a fennel bulb and dress with olive oil and lemon juice. I dare you to make this and not eat the whole bowl by yourself, it is so delicious.

Similar recipes include Slow Baked Fennel with Chilli and Garlic, Fennel a la Grecque, and Grilled Fennel with Fresh Mozzarella.

Browse all of our Fennel dishes, and all of our Italian dishes. Or explore our Early Spring dishes.

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Zuppa di Zucca | Italian Pumpkin Soup

Today’s recipe is another Pumpkin Soup. This one is Italian in origin, with  potatoes and cannellini beans. It is a beautiful and velvety soup.

Actually, I am famous amongst my friends and family  for Soupe au Potiron and it remains my favourite Pumpkin Soup! However, I also love a little variety. Make today’s recipe in very cold weather, and enjoy it with crisp crunchy bread! This recipe has been around in our Winter kitchen for many, many years, and the original inspiration came from the River Cafe Cookbook.

Similar recipes include Celeriac Soup with Cheese Croûtes, Soupe au Potiron, Pumpkin Soup with Red Peppers, and Adzuki Bean, Pumpkin and Barley Soup.

Browse all of our Pumpkin recipes, and our Soup recipes Our Italian recipes are here. Or check out our easy Mid Winter recipes.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006.  You can find other recipes from that blog in our Retro Recipes series.

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Baked Feta with Tomatoes and Red Capsicum

Baked Feta is a perfect mezza dish, served with crackers or flatbread. Flavoursome, soft, mouth watering, the baked feta is aromatic and elicits sounds of approval from your friends at your shared table. It is the sort of dish that you can make at the last minute – your friends arrive unexpectedly at meal time, as they do.

Or it is a great snack, mid afternoon, with a pot of mint tea. And it goes really well on Summery days when the BBQ is lit and people are milling around, nibbling, while the salads are made and the vegetable kebabs are cooking. We have also had it on a Winter’s day as we sit around the fire, reading, writing and chatting. Best of all, it is a perfect Summer Holidays dish, when no-one wants to cook much at all.

This recipe is a mish-mash of Italian and Greek. Definitely Mediterranean.

Similar recipes include Slow Braised Peppers in Olive Oil, Parsley and Barley Salad with Feta, Du Puy Lentils with Feta, and Baked Eggplant with Feta.

Browse all of our other Feta dishes, our Italian recipes and our Greek dishes. Or explore our Late Winter recipes.

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Dakos with Tomato, Herbs and Feta

Throughout Italy and Greece, dried bread is common – bread that has been baked, sliced, then baked again until very very dry. The most loved use of this bread, called Dakos or Paximadia in Greece and Friselle in Italy, is in salads where the juice of the tomatoes and oil and vinegar dressing soak into the bread, softening it and adding the flavours of Summer. They can also be used like a bruschetta as a base for a variety of Mediterranean toppings.

We have made a couple of other Dakos dishes, a salad that also confusingly called Dakos, and a baked Dakos dish – both are delicious. This is a variation on the salad, with a few different spices.

Similar dishes include Tomato and Roasted Lemon Salad, Braised Tomatoes with Herbs, Fattoush, Simple Tomato Bread Salad, Dakos and Baked Dakos.

Browse all of our Dakos dishes, our Italian food and Greek recipes. Or explore our Late Summer dishes.

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Broad Bean Dip with Wilted Greens and Roasted Onions

Spring and Broad Beans go together like birds of a feather. But when the fresh green pods of these green-flavoured beans are no longer available, we are fortunate to have dried broad beans. These come in several sizes and colours – the main ones are large, unpeeled beans, and smaller, yellow, peeled beans. Both are great, slightly differently flavoured, and the yellow ones come with the advantage of not having to peel them before cooking.

This is another great puree made from the dried broad beans  (fava beans) – use either type. Today, the puree is used as a dip and spread alongside roasted onions, wilted greens, roasted capsicums, and olives, with toasted ciabatta for spreading and piling on the accompaniments.

Are you looking for similar recipes? Try Broad Bean Spread with Roasted Garlic Ricotta, Avocado and Bread Bean Mash, Dried Fava Bean Puree with Fresh Herbs, Fava Bean Puree with Dill and Olive Oil, and Broad Bean and Butter Bean Spread.

Or browse all of our Broad Bean recipes and all of our Italian dishes. Alternatively, take some time to explore our Mid Winter collection of dishes.

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Another Very Simple Chickpea Salad with Olives

Simple and easy, nutritious and delicious. What more could we ask? Tinned or cooked chickpeas can be used to make it quick and simple, but I always prefer the taste of soaked and cooked chickpeas.

Chickpeas are so versatile. Used almost all over the world, many cuisines feature chickpeas in some form or other. This means that they can be used with many different flavour combinations to great effect. In this recipe, we use olives, herbs and zucchini. A little bit Italian, perhaps.

Similar recipes include a French Simple Chickpea Salad, a Simple Delicious Bittman Chickpea Salad, Turmeric Chickpeas, and Chickpea “Tabbouleh“.

Browse all of the Chickpea Salad recipes and all of the dishes featuring Chickpeas, explore the Bittman Salads and check out all of the many many Salad recipes. Be inspired by our easy Mid Summer recipes too.

This recipe is one of the vegetarian recipes from our first blog which was in existence from 1995 – 2006. Feel free to browse other recipes from our Retro Recipes series.

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Beautiful Fennel Puree

In this recipe, fennel bulbs are cooked a la Grecque in olive oil and lemon juice until very tender and falling apart. They are then whizzed into the most beautiful puree, perfect for spreading, eating as it is, using as a dressing on salads or hot vegetables, or serving as part of a larger meal.

The puree has a wonderful mayonnaise type texture so it acts amazingly well as a dressing over salads, or over baked or steamed vegetables.

This dish comes from Italy, and it is the Italians who seem to use fennel the most. At one time, it was popular at the end of a meal, a delicious way to cleanse the palate. Parts of Tuscany still do this, I hear. The best salad is still fennel, sliced thinly and dressed with olive oil, salt and lemon juice. Just perfect. This dish retains those flavours but cooks the fennel to a soft and gentle puree.

Are you after similar dishes? Try Slow Baked Fennel with Chilli, Orange and Garlic, and Fennel a la Grecque.

Try some other purees too – Roasted Cauliflower and White Bean, Broad Bean and Butter Bean, and Spiced Tomato.

You can also browse all of our Fennel dishes, and all of our Puree recipes. You might like to check out our Dressings, Spreads and Dips too, and all of our Italian dishes. Or take some time and explore our Mid Winter menus.

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