Spaghetti with Borlotti Beans


Borlotti beans – something I got used to here in Venice, and getting hooked on them too! They are delicious, it is not just Jamie Oliver saying that!

  • 300 g fresh spaghetti or thick dried spaghetti (cooked according to instructions on the  package)
  • 2-3 rashers of lean smoked bacon or speck ( I like speck because they are leaner and has a nice smokey taste
  • 1 medium onion  finely chopped
  • 1 pip of garlic finely chopped
  • 1 small red chilly deseeded and chopped
  • 1 small stalk of celery and the leaves (diced finely)
  • 1 small carrot (diced finely)
  • 500 g fresh plum tomatoes or ‘pomodori cuore di bue’ + 2 tbp olive oil  + 3 sprigs of flat parsley – in a blender, pulse them 3 times
  • 3 tbp of tomato paste
  • 1 tbp brown or demerara sugar
  • 4 tbp of roughly chopped basil leaves fresh
  • 1 cup of borlotti beans (fresh or frozen)
  • salt and black pepper to taste
  • 3 tbp olive oil

Heat a saucepan on high heat with the olive oil, and put in the speck, onions, garlic, chilly, carrot and celery for 5 mins. Pour in the tomatoes from the blender and add the tomato paste before turning the heat down to medium. Add also the borlotti beans and 1/2 cup of water. Stir well the mixture as it cooks.

beansLeave it for about 30 mins.. constantly stirring and adding a little water if it looks to be drying up. Add salt , pepper and sugar , the chopped basil leaves to taste – continue to simmer for another 10 mins or until beans are cooked , again adding a little water as you go along if the mixture dries up too much.

Meanwhile cook the spaghetti accordingly.

Once the sauce is done, toss the cooked spaghetti through it . Dish out on a plate , topped with grated parmigiano and a basil leave and some black pepper.

*You can also add a bit more tomato paste 1 tbp at a time as each addition of water does dilute the sauce a bit. The recipe is good for 2 people or 3 people (at smaller portions each).

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