Broad beans ( Fave) are often associated with poverty and simple, peasant eating. They grow prolifically and produce a bounty of fresh beans, with plenty to stash in the freezer or dry. The Italians who migrated to Australia in the 1950s and 60s, with “Courage in their Cases,” also had a few dried fave beans sown into the lining, a memento of home and a good luck seed.
When married with quality risotto rice such as Vialone Nano or Carnaroli rice, as well as a small slab of hot smoked salmon or trout, the humble broad bean enters the realms of rich man’s food, la cucina borghese. You decide: keep it cheap and leave out the hot smoked fish and use a cheaper everyday arborio rice, or lash out!
Ingredients ( two as a main, 4 as a small entrée)
- 1 cup shelled broad beans/fave
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 1 cup vialone nano rice ( or other arborio)
- 30 gr butter
- 1 Tbles EV olive oil
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 3 cups vegetable stock, simmering on the stove
- 75 gr hot smoked salmon or trout, torn in small pieces
- fresh herbs, such as marjoram, oregano or dill
- Grana Padano or Reggiano Parmigiano, grated, a generous amount.
- Firstly, boil the shelled broad beans for 3 minutes, drain, then peel by simply squeezing the outer shell, and sliding out the tender, bright green inner bean. Even better, get some little person to help.
- Heat 20 gr of butter and the olive oil in a heavy base pot, add the chopped onion and cook on low until the onion has softened and is golden in colour. Add the rice and stir about until the rice becomes covered and opaque. Turn up the heat to medium. Add the wine, and stir until it bubbles away. Then add a ladle full of stock, stirring as you go, until the liquid has been absorbed. Continue in this way until all the stock has been used, around 20 minutes or so. In the last few minutes of this process, just as you add your last stock, add the beans and stir through.
- Gently stir through the salmon and the chopped herbs, then fare il mantecare. This is an essential step to add creaminess and finish to the risotto. Add the remaining knob of butter and a generous amount of grated parmesan ( 1/2 cup) to the rice, stir through to ‘cream’ the rice, then cover the pot, off the heat, and leave for a couple of minutes.Serve on a large round or oval platter, with more parmesan, and serve from the outside, in a circular fashion, which maintains the heat in the centre.