While I have been away on my travels the vegetable garden has been very busy and is overflowing with Mange-toute Peas, Broad Beans, Asparagus and Loquats amongst other things. I will talk about the Loquats later. Lets talk about broad beans today.

Normally I pick the beans when they are small and very tender, but of course in my absence they have matured into big beans. Still very useable, but they just need a bit more work to remove the skin from each individual bean once they have been removed from their pods.

BROAD BEAN RISOTTO 

Per person-

beans – shelled and skin removed if tough – 80 gms

risotto rice – 30 gms

butter – 15 gms

onion – finely chopped – 1 tbsp

raw ham – parma,  serrano, bayonne – 40 gms

light stock – 150-200 ml

white wine – 40 ml

sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

If you grow your own beans then this dish is ideal if you have a mixture of small tender beans and more mature ones with floury flesh. If this is the case then prepare the beans separately.

The small tender ones just want to go into a saucepan with a little of the butter. Put them on a low heat and swirl around until they are bright green. Add a small amount of water to go half the way up the beans, cover and cook for a couple of minutes until half cooked. Remove from the pan and put to one side until later.

The large beans will need their skin removed from each individual bean, then treat in the same way as the tender ones, but cook a little longer until they are  mashable. Mash them into a rough pulp with their cooking liquid. They don’t want to be a smooth puree, this is a rustic dish after all.

If you only have large beans then cook them all together as above but now divide them in two and mash half. Put them separately to one side until later.

Fry the onion in butter until transparent. Add the ham cut into small strips, stir and cook for a minute.

Add the rice and stir to coat in the butter. Cook for a minute or two for the rice to absorb the butter a little.

Pour in the wine and let it bubble away for a couple of minutes.

Add the mashed beans to the pan and then enough of the stock to cover all the contents of the pan by about a centimetre. Cover and leave to cook slowly for 5-7 minutes.

Check the pan and add more stock if necessary. Add the rest of the beans and stir them in. Season with salt and pepper.

Continue cooking until the rice and beans are done. Add more stock as the risotto cooks if you think it is needed. As you know you are aiming for a wet texture but not a soupy one, so add stock in small amounts if you are unfamiliar with the rice that you are using or are not experienced at making risottos.

Serve sprinkled with ricotta or another fresh sheeps cheese.

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