Feel like a quickie?

Posted on August 17, 2011


There comes a time during the year when I crave beans, not green beans or crisp snow peas but creamy broad beans. I love their subtle texture and the way they melt in the mouth.  A quick way to enjoy them is by squashing them on toast with ricotta and mint. Fresh broad beans have a vibrant green hue and should be soft and easy to shell. Due to slightly warmer weather in Victoria, I have started seeing broad beans cropping up everywhere. The season usually runs from late winter into spring. I always choose the smaller beans when shopping, as the large beans can be hard and chewy. Butternut pumpkin is also in ample supply and I find that it is quite sweet during the end of the winter season. Pumpkin also works well with warming spices like cinnamon, nutmeg and cardamon. If your strapped for time, these are easy and satisfying meals that I cook in under thirty minutes. Simple comfort meals to enjoy during the last chilly month of winter.

my recipe

Ravioli with pumpkin, pancetta and sage sauce.

Serves 4

400g fresh ricotta ravioli, I have used a frozen pack from The mediterranean grocer in Brunswick.
1/2 small butternut pumpkin, cubed.
150g hot pancetta, sliced, chopped roughly. 
10 sage leaves.
150g salted butter. (Can use Olive oil for a lighter touch)
1/2 Red onion, chopped.
3 garlic cloves chopped.
1/2 Cup Grana Padano or parmesan grated.
1 Tbsp Grana Padano or parmesan grated, to serve.
Pepper to taste.


1)Bring a pot of salted water to a rolling boil. Add pumpkin cubes, blanch for two minutes.

2)Remove from water with a slotted spoon, set aside.

3)Return pot to heat and bring to a boil.

4)Heat a skillet pan over medium heat and melt the butter.

5)Meanwhile, cook ricotta till al dente. (Still has bite to it)

6)Add garlic and onion and fry untill soft, then add pancetta.

7)Fry pancetta till brown. Season with pepper.

8)Add sage leaves and pumpkin and fry for 2 mins, till sage leaves wilt.

9)Drain pasta in colander, remove sauce from heat and add pasta.

10)Add Grana Padano and mix. Serve with a sprinkle of left over cheese.

*If your strapped for time or can’t find any ricotta ravioli at the your local shop, substitute with penne and sprinkle 150g of ricotta in pasta. You may find that a sprinkle of olive oil will add moister to the dish. For vegetarians, add 150g halved toasted pine nuts.

Orecheitte with broad beans and pancetta.

400g Orechiette pasta.
200g hot Pancetta sliced, roughly chopped.
500g broad bean pods, shelled.
6 tbsp Olive oil, add extra if needed.
1/2 Cup Parmigiano reggiano, (parmesan) grated.
4 cloves garlic, chopped finely.
2 mild long red chillies, 1 seeded, chopped.
Large handful chopped parsley.
Salt and pepper to season.

Broad bean come in pods, they must be removed from pod and in most cases, peeled to remove outer shell, see below. When young theydo not require double shelling.


1)Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2)Blanch broad beans for 30 seconds.

3)Remove from water with a slotted spoon, cool slightly, then cut a slit in the bean and push inside bean out of  firm outer shell.

4)Reserve in a bowl, sprinkle with pepper generously.

5)Bring same pot of water to boil again. Add pasta and cook for 10-12 mins till al dente.

6) When pasta is almost ready, heat oil in skillet pan on a medium heat.

7)Add garlic, pancetta and chillies and cook till golden but not brown. Add parsley. Cook for 1-2 mins.

8)Drain pasta, toss together with the sauce and the beans, adding cheese at the last-minute.

9)Serve with a sprinkle of cheese on top.

*Broad beans can be substituted with peas, fresh or frozen. Orechiette pasta can be substituted with penne or strozzapreti

Posted in: Uncategorized