Broad bean, feta and mint linguine

DSC_0164Broad beans are in season, and although they will be available throughout the spring and summer don’t wait around too long – you get the sweetest and most tender specimens right now.

Broad beans are a relatively new item on my menu as they seem to be much more popular here than in Denmark. But I have quickly found uses for them; young beans, lightly blanched, are superb in a salad mixed with cous cous, pearl barley or other type of grain. They are also a good match for pasta – the key to success here is lots of cheese (when a dish has more than one type of cheese in it you know it’s a winner) and citrusy minty flavours to balance the cheeses.

Stomping around the Royal Botanic Garden in Edinburgh the other day I happened upon an impressive garden plot tended to by local school kids. Different varieties of potato were grown alongside chard, peas, rhubarb and strawberries and all sorts of vegetables and berries I cannot recall. It made me smile. Their beautiful broad beans, of course, I had to share with you.

Serves 2:
200 g linguine – but any type of long-stranded pasta will do
200 g broad beans
50 g feta cheese
1 large onion
1-3 cloves of garlic
one small bunch of fresh mint, chopped
zest of a lemon and a squeeze of juice
olive oil
grated pecorino (or other hard cheese), to finish
freshly ground pepper

1. Dice the onion and garlic finely. Pod the broad beans and shell them from their cases (it’s handy having friends or family around to help you with this). Put the podded and shelled beans in a sieve. Boil a kettle of water and pour the warm water over the beans, blanching them for about a minute.

2. Set the pasta to boil; meanwhile, sauté the onion and garlic in a tablespoon of olive oil. After 5 minutes add the beans and sauté for another couple minutes then take the pan off the heat and leave until the pasta is cooked.

3. Drain the pasta. Add to the beans: lemon juice and zest, feta, mint, pepper and a glug of olive oil, then stir in the pasta. Divide between two plates and garnish with grated pecorino cheese and perhaps another grinding of pepper.

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