Monday, June 11, 2007

PENNE WITH BROAD BEANS AND PESTO

1lb broad beans, podded
1 large bunch basil
1tbsp pine kernels
1tbsp parmesan, finely grated
1tbsp olive oil
Fresh pepper
Penne (enough for two)
1tbsp single cream
Extra parmesan to shave over the top

Put the broad beans into a pan of hot water and bring to the boil. When they reach simmering point, leave for about 20 seconds, then switch off. Tip the beans into a colander over the sink and leave to cool.

Make the pesto: you can use a food processor, but this is how it's traditionally done. (Make sure the basil is really, really fresh and fragrant - if the scent doesn't waft out of the bag, put it to use decorating a different pasta dish*, or shred it into an Italian salad.) Pound half the pine kernels with half the basil in a pestle and mortar, then remove to a plate. Pound the remaining basil and kernels, and put the first batch back into the bowl. Add fresh pepper, a good slug of olive oil, and the finely grated parmesan, and stir until it looks like pesto.

Drop the penne into boiling water and simmer as per packet. While it's cooking, shell the broad beans, pinching off the greyish-green skin, and dropping them into the pesto. As soon as it's just cooked, drain the pasta, and return it to the pan. Stir in the cream, then add the pesto and broad beans, and mix gently. Serve with extra parmesan for those who want it.

*Steve's easy penne is good - roast a punnet of cherry tomatoes, halved. Boil penne and add a splash of balsamic vinegar, a splash of cream, the tomatoes, the shredded basil, and plenty of salt and pepper.