Seasonal local food recipe No 64: Borlotti beans with sage

From Sarah Raven’s Garden Cookbook. Good with slow-roasted belly of pork – or just as a first course with rocket or young spinach leaves. Another excellent recipe to try with your borlotti beans is Borlotti bean tagliatelle.

Serves: 6 as a starter, 8 as a side dish

Preparation and cooking: 40 minutes

500g fresh borlotti beans
1 garlic clove, peeled
10g sage leaves, chopped, plus plenty extra for scattering
3 tbsp olive oil, plus a little extra for drizzling
100g pancetta (or streaky bacon), chopped
slurp of red wine vinegar
2 tbsp Dijon mustard
salt and black pepper
3 handfuls of rocket or young spinach leaves (optional)

Put the beans, garlic and chopped sage into a pan, cover with water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 30 minutes or so, until the beans are soft. Drain them and, while still warm, add 1 tbsp oil and put aside.

Meanwhile, fry the pancetta in a very little olive oil until crisp and add to the beans. Mix together the vinegar, mustard, salt and pepper, and slowly add the rest of the olive oil to give a very creamy dressing. Pour this over the still-warm beans, keeping a third back if you are using the salad leaves. Scatter plenty of chopped sage leaves over the top.

If using the salad leaves, dress them and divide between the plates, and spoon the beans over the leaves. Drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil.

Seasonal recipe No 47: Borlotti bean tagliatelle

This is a perfect creamy pasta dish that uses some of the fresh basil we have in the veg boxes this week.  It comes from the first River Cafe Cook Book Easy, whose authors are the late-lamented Rose Gray and her fellow River Cafe founder Ruth Rogers. 

Serves 4

Preparation: 10 minutes
Cooking: 30 minutes

350g dried egg tagliatelle
100g pancetta
500g cooked borlotti beans (or tinned)
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves,
1 x 400g tin of peeled plum tomatoes, drained
3 tbs double cream
3 tbs torn basil leaves
50g Parmesan, freshly grated
extra-virgin olive oil

Peel and chop the onion and the garlic.  Cut the pancetta into 1cm pieces.  Rinse the beans if tinned.

Heat 2 tbs of olive oil in a thick-bottomed pan. Add the onion and cook until soft, then add the garlic and pancetta and cook until the pancetta is translucent. This should take about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, chopping them up to make a sauce, and cook for a further 10 minutes.

Season, then stir in the borlotti beans and cream. Cook for 5-10 minutes, until the sauce is thick. Add the basil and 2 tbs of olive oil. Cook the tagliatelle in boiling salted water until al dente. Drain, retaining 3-4 tbs of the pasta water. Add the tagliatelle to the beans, adding the retained pasta water if the sauce is too thick. Toss together, drizzle with olive oil and serve with the Parmesan.

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