Pasta with broad beans


It’s peak broad bean season. This week’s recommendation comes from bon viveur Rich, who apart from keeping us highly entertained on Thursdays for box packing is also the foodie brain at the Treehouse Board Game Café. Like Regather, for the café kitchen he buys from local suppliers including The Tower of Bagel (aka the lovely Jonny).

Rich picked this lovely, simple pasta sauce recipe from Nigel Slater, published recently in The Guardian. Perfect for those broad beans from Regather Farm or an allotmenteer. If you don’t have quite enough broad beans, see Nigel’s ‘twist’ tip and add some lightly cooked courgette to the sauce at the end.


  • 450g shelled broad beans
  • 160g of small pasta such as orecchiette
  • 125ml olive oil
  • Black pepper
  • 10g basil leaves
  • Watercress, landcress or baby salad leaves to serve on the side.


  1. Bring a deep pan of water to boil. Salt it lightly, then add the shelled broad beans. Cook for 4-7 mins (depending on size) until tender. Drain, then return the pan to the heat, with enough water to boil the pasta and salt it generously.
  2. Remove and discard the skins from the broad beans then put most of the beans into the bowl of a food processor, reserving a handful of whole beans.
  3. Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook for about 9 mins until al dente.
  4. Add the olive oil to the broad beans, a little ground black pepper, the basil leaves and 50ml of the water in which the pasta is cooking. Process to a smooth, rather thick green sauce.
  5. Drain the pasta and toss with the broad bean sauce and the reserved whole beans. A little watercress or landcress on the side is a delightful contrast.
  6. ‘The trick’: The heat of the pasta and the addition of some of the pasta cooking water is enough to warm the broad bean sauce, but if you wish, you can re-heat it gently in a small pan before adding the drained pasta.
  7. ‘The twist’: I sometimes lessen the quantity of pasta by almost half and increase the vegetables, adding lightly cooked asparagus or courgettes to the sauce with the whole broad beans. You could introduce a little grated salted ricotta as you serve.