Trying to come up with different interesting and nutritious vegetarian dishes every day for large quantities of people with limited ingredients is a challenge. And although pasta is great for numbers it’s something that you don’t want to give every meal. But in this case it’s gorgeous.
French beans are in season at the moment. sp are the veg du jour. They are hugely versatile as they can be boiled, fried, blanched, baked, and stir fried. I’m kind of in love with them to be honest, especially as they are easy to prepare. They are also really easy to grow.
They are thought to have originated in South and Central America where their cultivation was started around 7000 years ago. When Christopher Columbus returned from his second voyage to the New World around the year 1493, he brought the French bean to the Mediterranean region. At that time French beans were considered rare and therefore expensive but very soon became one of the most commonly used beans. They were introduced to France in the year 1597 by the Conquistadors.
French Bean Pasta
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely chopped or minced
500g French Bean
1 aubergine, cubed
1 courgette, cubed
200g fresh small leaf spinach
150ml Crème fraiche
Fresh herbs- usually flat leaf parsley
pasta of choice
Prepare the required quantity of french bean by topping and tailing them. Then blanch them for 5 minutes by putting them into boiling, salted water for 6 minutes, then immediately cooling them under running cold water, or into iced water preferably. Slice into bite size pieces.
Sauté the onion and garlic gently in the olive oil until translucent. Add the courgette and aubergine and continue to cook, stirring for about ten minutes until both of these vegetables are cooked. Add back in the beans, and the spinach and cook until the spinach looks droopy!
Meanwhile cook the pasta, drain reserving about a cup of the cooking liquid or “liquor”as it’s known in the *trade* (LOL). Mix in the veggies, and the crème fraiche. Season very well, and serve immediately. In this case I did not have spinach to hand so used rocket instead. This makes the sauce quite highly seasoned which suits the creamy crème fraiche sauce.