Here's a delicious supper option for spring; it is fresh and quick to prepare. I chose sagnarelli - short, rectangular ribbons with fluted edges - because I love this simple shape, but other smallish varieties such as orecchiette or farfalle work just as well. Pecorino can be substituted for another ewe's cheese or omitted altogether, in which case I'd add a herb such as tarragon or chervil.
500g broad beans, fresh or frozen
8 small shallots, peeled and thinly sliced
400ml dry white wine
½ tsp sugar
Salt and ground white pepper
2 tsp pink peppercorns, coarsely crushed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp lemon juice
80g young or semi-mature pecorino, very thinly sliced
Grated zest of 2 small lemons
- Start by dropping the beans into a large pan filled with plenty of boiling water. Thirty seconds after the water comes back to the boil, drain into a colander and refresh the beans under cold water. Once dry, remove the skins by pressing gently with your fingers against the sides of the beans, discarding the skins. (If you don't mind the skins, skip this stage.)
- Melt the butter in a medium saucepan, add the shallots and sauté over medium heat for about six minutes, until soft and golden. Add the wine, sugar, some salt and white pepper, simmer until the wine is reduced to about a tablespoon, then set aside.
- Cook the pasta al dente according to the instructions on the packet. Once it is cooked, reserve about one cup of the cooking liquid and drain. Return the pasta to the pot and add the shallot and wine reduction, the broad beans, half the peppercorns and half the olive oil. Stir gently, adjust the seasoning to taste and add some of the reserved cooking liquid if it seems dry.
- At the last minute, add the lemon juice, then spoon the pasta into deep serving plates, dotting it with cheese as you go. Finish with pink peppercorns, lemon zest and a trickle of oil.