Borlotti beans are one of my favourite veg to grow. Their stunning pod colour makes me smile in the garden and unlike most of things we grow at home (why did you buy potatoes at the market when we have a garden full of them….?), you can’t easily buy them fresh in this country. And cooked fresh borlotti beans are sooo much better than tinned with a wonderful silky texture, especially the smaller, green-tinged beans that have the most delicate skin. So it’s really worth growing them yourself.
How to grow Borlotti Beans
These Italian beans are more tender than our English runner beans so plant them a bit later once the soil has warmed up. See here for more tips.
How to cook Borlotti Beans
A lot of websites say to dry your beans and if you have a big harvest that is what you need to do. But I like to cook as many as I can still fresh.
Here is the Italian recipe I follow:
Just add the beans into a saucepan of water, bring to the boil and simmer for about 40 minutes with clove of garlic and salt in the water. Serve warm with extra virgin olive oil and salt to taste. If you like boiled garlic (which is also creamy in texture), add some extra cloves to the cooking beans.
You can also mash them to make dips (similar to hummous).
Pasta e fagioli
This famous Italian soup with pasta and beans is a wonderful autumnal dish. If you don’t have fresh borlotti beans, tinned will work but dried are better according to this comprehensive guide here: theguardian.com/food/2019/oct/16/how-to-make-perfect-pasta-e-fagioli-felicity-cloake