Thomasina Miers’ recipe for broad bean puttanesca

Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for oyster mushroom tacos

I first made puttanesca after reading the recipe in a Nigella book. Her introduction was so enthralling that I made it the very next day. The sauce traditionally uses store-cupboard items, so my twist with new-season broad beans and fresh tomatoes adds an almost blasphemous element to the mix. But the ingredients come together beautifully in this simple and thoroughly delicious midweek fix.

Broad bean puttanesca

You can use frozen broad beans instead of fresh – either way, it is worth double podding them, if you have the time.

Prep 20 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
1 large white onion
, peeled and finely sliced
A pinch of salt
3 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
1-2 tsp dried chilli flakes
, to taste
6 tinned anchovy fillets, drained and chopped
350g cherry tomatoes, halved
75g pitted black olives, stoned and halved
75g capers, drained
400g broad beans, podded (or peas)
300g dried spaghetti
1 small handful chopped parsley
Freshly grated parmesan
, to serve

Heat the oil over a medium heat in a large pan. Add the onion, season with salt and saute for about seven to eight minutes, until soft. Add the garlic, chilli flakes and anchovies, and cook for a few more minutes while you break up the anchovies with the back of a wooden spoon. Add the tomatoes, olives and capers, and let the mix simmer away gently.

Meanwhile, put a large pan of salted water on to boil for the pasta. Blanch the broad beans (or peas) in this water for a few minutes, then lift them out with a slotted spoon and transfer to a small bowl. Now add the pasta to the water pan and cook until al dente, which should be one to two minutes less than the packet instructions tell you. While it’s cooking, remove the outer skins from the beans, then tip the beans into the tomato sauce. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and reserve half a cup of the cooking water.

Add the pasta and most of the chopped parsley to the sauce, stir for a minute, then loosen with some of the cooking water as the pasta soaks up the liquid from the sauce. Divide the pasta between four bowls, top each portion with a little more parsley and serve with grated parmesan.

The simple flex

For a vegan version, omit the anchovies from the sauce and scatter the finished dish with olive oil-toasted garlicky breadcrumbs in place of the parmesan.