I recently bought some mung bean fettucine and broad beans (fava beans) because I was in a different part of town (Clifton Hill) and enjoying exploring unfamiliar speciality stores and grocers. Always interesting to be a tourist but nice to come home. Yes, I am sorry to say that I was not won over by the pasta and I still don’t understand other bloggers who get so excited by broad bean season.
I am not in the habit of putting a lot of salt in the water for cooking pasta. E encourages me to add oil and salt so sometimes I add token amounts but pasta usually tastes good enough without. I was fascinated in Bill Burford’s story of learning Italian cooking in Heat to read that the water should be as salty as the sea. Maybe this would help the mung bean pasta because it made me rush for the salt shaker.
As for the broad beans, I used them to make pesto which was nice but it seemed like I was masking the taste of the beans because, frankly, they didn’t taste that great by themselves. Even peeled they leave a floury taste in my mouth. So I just can’t justify spending time peeling off their skins. It seems a waste to buy such a large handful and end up with so few little beans (I bought 400g and ended up with 75g when double podded). The best thing about them is the lovely green colour. I will maybe try a few more recipes but my heart will not leap with joy at the sight of them coming into the stores in spring.
However, I always enjoy a pesto so here is the recipe. It was interesting with the mung bean pasta but was excellent on toast with slices of tomato and cheese (sorry no photos because I had it for breakfast when my brain was focusing on other things). It is also good to flavour sauces, mashed potato and salads. At least when I see broad beans in the stores, I can think of one way to enjoy them.
Broad Bean Pesto
(adapted from BBC and Celtnet)
makes enough to serve 4 on pasta
75g broad bean (double podded) from 400g
1 garlic clove
30g basil (a small bunch)
1 tsp lemon juice
2 tbsp olive oil
30g parmesan cheese, finely grated
Pinch salt (optional)
To double pod broad beans – pod and cover with boiling water for about 2-3 minutes then remove the bright green beans from the grey skins.
Place all ingredients in a food processor and blitz till blended into a paste.
On the stereo:
The Wire Tapper 20 – Various Artists