Saturday, May 31, 2014

Tajarin con Ragu di Fave

Cristina from La Cucina di Cristina is hosting both the English and Italian editions of Weekend Herb Blogging and this week I'm enjoying these fresh Broad (or Fava) beans.

Broad Beans© by Haalo

There are mountains of fresh broad beans in the markets so I've taken advantage of this bounty to use them in a ragù. Back in Melbourne I would make this type of ragù with peas and pancetta but here, apart from using broad beans, I've substituted mortadella for the pancetta. Pancetta is a great ingredient but it can overpower the broad bean - mortadella has a softer, sweeter flavour that allows the broad bean to be the star.

Tajarin con Ragù di Fave

Broad Bean Ragù
1 medium brown onion, finely diced
50 grams mortadella, finely diced
2 garlic cloves, fined diced
fresh broad beans, blanched and skinned
tomato passata
sea salt and pepper, to taste

The pasta I've used is a speciality of the region - Tajarin

tajarin© by Haalo

Tajarin are a finely sliced type of tagliatelle, made from an egg rich dough - some doughs can use more than 40 egg yolks per kilo of flour! This pasta cooks in a flash so it's important to have everything ready to go before you even think of cooking it. If you can't find tajarin, any other long noodle would be fine.

Make the ragù:
The most time consuming part of this is preparing the broad beans. You'll need to pod them, blanch them and then remove the outer skin. It is monotonous but the end result is more than worth it.

Put a little olive oil and a knob of butter into a skillet and place over a medium heat - when the butter has melted, add in the onion. Let this sauté very gently until softened but not coloured. Now add the garlic and mortadella and continue to gently cook until the mixture starts to colour. Add the passata and a little water and slowly simmer until reduced. Stir through the broad beans and cook briefly until they are heated through - taste and adjust the seasoning.

Broad Bean Ragu© by Haalo

To serve:
These fresh tajarin will cook in about 15 seconds and as soon as they are done, lightly drain and tumble them into the ragù. Stir them through the sauce and serve at once with a good grating of parmesan.

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