I would love to post my recipes more often, but my way of cooking generally involves adding a little bit of this and a little bit of that and then having a taste and adding some more this or that. Because this is my daily method of cooking for my family, it can sometimes be tricky to write exact measurements of ingredients to share on this blog. But this one has to be shared. Although it is more of a string of words open to interpretation and preference rather than a standard recipe, I hope this does provide some inspiration for your next meal. Take this idea and make it your own.
With broad bean season in full swing where we are here in regional Victoria, I’m sure many of you are finding yourself with an abundance of beans. Turning them into a pesto to be tossed through pasta is just the perfect thing to do with those green gems. The lack of basil at this time of year needn’t be a worry as the broad beans add such a delightful sweetness to the dish.
Totally optional, but highly recommended, that you fry up some pancetta until lovely and crisp. A sprinkle over the top adds the most wonderful texture and a salty hit and adds immensely to the dish.
You could also omit the pasta and the pancetta altogether and serve the pesto as a dip alongside some crackers and cheese, or even on some grilled bread as crostini, perhaps topped with some feta. Whatever you decide, I hope you enjoy it!
Broad Bean Pesto
Freshly podded broad beans
A few thick slices of pancetta, cut into small batons (optional)
Extra virgin olive oil
Clove of garlic
A handful grated pecorino
Couple of squeezes of fresh lemon juice
Salt and pepper, to taste
Spaghetti, fettuccine or linguine (about 100g per person)
Extra pecorino, to serve
Bring a pot of water to boil. Add the podded broad beans and blanch for 30 seconds. Drain and cool slightly then remove the outer skins from the beans.
In a small frying pan, heat some olive oil then add the pancetta. Fry until lovely and crisp then set aside on a plate lined with paper towel.
Place a large pot of water on the stove.
Meanwhile, in a pestle and mortar, add the podded broad beans and smash until mostly broken up (some texture is good so don’t worry about making it totally smooth). Add the garlic and break up until it is well blended. Throw in the pecorino and lemon juice and mix until well combined.
Gradually add the olive oil a little at a time until you have your desired consistency. The oil should just bring it all together, you don’t want it to become too thin. Mix in the salt and pepper and have a taste. Add more of this or that, depending on your preferences.
The water on the stove should be boiled by this stage. Add salt and throw in your preferred pasta. Cook accordingly. Before draining the pasta, reserve about a cup of the cooking water.
Once the pasta has been drained, stir through your pesto. Add some of the reserved pasta water to create an emulsion and help the pesto stick to the pasta (don’t add it all, just enough to coat the pasta).
Serve topped with the crispy pancetta and some extra pecorino, if desired.