Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Broad beans, orecchiette, minty ricotta & anchovy croutons

I have a few strategies for cheering myself up when I feel a little blue, a little uninspired, or when I just want to plak a smile on my face.

The most effective is to sing Eminem songs to myself in a Punjabi accent (‘The Real Slim Shady’ is a favourite).

A stroll on the mountain is also a reliable way to lift my spirits. Summer arrived in Cape Town this weekend (and then swiftly departed on Monday), and since I’m lucky enough to live within walking distance of Rhodes Memorial, I took an amble on Sunday morning. And some pretty pictures. Mooi, neh?

Apart from warm weather and extra daylight, nothing helps summer hit home quite like the glut of greens that flood the farmers’ markets around this time of year, none of which I anticipate more avidly than broad beans.

These beautiful emerald nuggets are impossible to resist. Although, after podding about a kilo of them, I thought I might have a little more success resisting them next year.

I concocted this killer recipe over the weekend. You could leave out the mint, if you like, or the anchovies, but I liked the combination. It was a glorious plate of summer.

Broad beans, orecchiette, minty ricotta & anchovy croutons

The amounts for this dish are not all that important (i.e. I am too lazy to figure them out). Just cook enough pasta (about 450g for four people) and take it from there.

Pod a whack of broad beans, blanch briefly (like, a minute or two), then remove the tough outer skin. Boil orecchiette. Cut some nice, crusty ciabatta up into little bocks. Heat some olive oil and melt some anchovies (about 5). Fry the bread cubes until golden brown and crunchy.

Mix up some ricotta and finely chopped mint, and season to taste with salt and black pepper. (Add a tablespoon of yoghurt if the ricotta is a little dry.)

Divide the pasta and broad beans between plates/bowls, dot with blobs of  ricotta and top with croutons. Give a final sprinkle of salt and black pepper, drizzle with some good quality extra virgin olive oil and finish with a squeeze of lemon juice.

Et voilĂ !


  1. Wow, Robyn, this salad looks delish - and uber summery! Your photos of your walk are so pretty. I'm inspired!

  2. It looks lovely, but why do you pod them? The skins are soft and I find they taste great with them left on.

  3. Thanks Linda and Ingrid.
    Ingrid – I guess podding them is a personal preference. One could certainly leave the skins on but they tend to go quite dull or brown and I don't find them as visually appealing.