Beans and Greens

One of my favourite dinners, both to make and to eat. This is basically pasta e fagioli, but made with chorizo because I love it and extra vegetables because they love me.

This is what Nigella calls ‘quick, quick, slow.’ It takes a while to cook – that’s where the incredible, deep flavour comes from, but the prep itself is quick and easy.

You can make your own cavatelli, or use shop bought.

Ingredients

250g dried borlotti beans

2 tbsp olive oil

4 carrots, peeled

2 large onions

4 ribs celery

1 clove garlic

1 x 400g tin tomatoes

2 bay leaves

parmesan rinds (only if you have them)

200g baby spinach or kale

300g tenderstem broccoli

Gremolata :

1 clove garlic, minced

zest of 1 lemon

30g flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

Place the beans in a large bowl and cover with water the night before, or at least six hours. Don’t underestimate how thirsty they are – cover with several inches of water.

Place the carrot, onion and celery in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. You could also do this by hand but sometimes it’s nice to take the shortcut.

Heat the oil in a large, heavy bottomed saucepan and then add the carrot, onion and celery. Cook over a medium heat, stirring until they have softened and reduced. Mince the garlic, and add along with the chorizo. Cook for a few more minutes, until the chorizo has released colour into the oil/ veg mix. Season with salt and pepper.

Add the beans with their soaking liquid, the tin of tomatoes, bay leaves and parmesan rinds, if using. Simmer gently, stirring occasionally for about 2 hours. Cooking time varies. Check after 1 hour and keep simmering until you are happy with the softness of your beans.

When you are close to serving cook the pasta until al dente in a separate pot of boiling, salted water. Drain and add to the beans, along with the spinach/ kale. Leave to mingle together while you cook the broccoli.

Toss the broccoli in olive oil in a bowl. Make sure it is thoroughly coated. Heat a heavy, cast iron grill pan and grill the broccoli for several minutes, until it is done to your liking. Season with salt and pepper.

Gremolata. Mix together the garlic, lemon zest and finely chopped parsley and sprinkle over your beans and greens.