The Not So Humble Broad Bean Risotto

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERABroad 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.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA 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
  • salt/pepper
  • 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.

    Rich man, poor man ingredients
    Rich man, poor man ingredients


  1. 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.
  2.  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.

    First stage of cooking risotto.
    First stage of cooking risotto.
  3. 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.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAServe 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.

Find other seasonal broadbean recipes from my previous posts using these links: Tagliatelle with Broadbeans and Smoked Salmon  and  Rice, Farro and Barley Pilaf with Broadbeans.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA



24 thoughts on “The Not So Humble Broad Bean Risotto”

  1. Yum, now that the sort of risotto I prefer, not too much complexity but simple good quality ingredients. I get overheated dining on risotto in the warmer weather, but if we have a cool day next week, this will be on for dinner!


    1. We eat risotto any old time, but more so when we have too much of one ingredient in the garden. Or when there are Italian Wwoofers staying here, who almost lick the plate. It is simple. I think it blew out at $10.00 for two, if i think about it. why am I so budget focussed with food, and never seem to ask these questions about the wine!


      1. Ha ha well said. You can sip in wine while cooking, and that is what I always do. While preparing beef in red wine, I never missed the opportunity 😛


    1. They grow like weeds here and I feel like a peasant eating them straight from the pod, or cart a few inside, a little shar cheese and a fingerful of red wine- a big finger!


  2. Wish I’d seen the tip about smoked trout before I made the mushroom, leek and broad bean risotto last week. My husband is sitting here shelling BB’s as I write this! Love the way they have their own little sleeping bags! Thanks for the tip!


  3. Yummy! I make something similar with chicken and broad beans, but your hot smoked salmon sounds much more elegant! Lovely snippet of Australian history with the Italian immigrants “with courage in their pockets”.


    1. There was a book written in the 80s with this title, ‘With Courage in their Cases” ,including interviews with families who immigrated in the 50s and their experiences. I also translated an autobiography on this theme, in Italian called Piccola Quercia, but changed in English to ‘The Life of a Migrant’, By Olga D’Albero Giuliani. It’s a theme that is often close to my heart.

      Liked by 1 person

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