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Every autumn I plant a crop of broad beans and, aside from staking the plants, pretty much ignore them through winter and then in spring they reward me with a bumper crop. We eat them in salads although preparing them is fiddly – you have to pod and blanch the beans, then pull off the grey skin from each one to get to the glorious green beneath. For this pasta recipe I don’t bother to shuck my broad beans from their skins. Actually this dish is meant to be made with peas and you do get a nuttier flavour…but I’m rubbish at growing peas.
You will need: about a kilo of broad beans in pods, one bunch spring onions (scallions), 300g bacon, 150 to 200g spaghetti, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, salt and black pepper.
Pod the broad beans. Put a pasta pot full of salted water on to boil. Chop bacon and spring onions roughly and fry together gently in olive oil in a heavy bottomed pan. Break spaghetti into smaller lengths and cook in pasta pot once water is boiling. Add broad beans to the bacon and spring onion mixture, fry for a minute then ladle in water from the pasta pot until they are just covered. Simmer until tender at which point the spaghetti should be cooked al dente. Chuck the pasta in a sieve to drain and then put it in with the broad beans and mix.
The result should be a light soupy mixture to serve in bowls with a little black pepper and some grated Parmesan. Don’t be tempted to go adding stuff like garlic as this is meant to have a clean flavour. And if you are good at growing peas then by all means make it with them!