Baked pasta with peas, broad beans, fresh herbs and grana padano

Baked pasta with peas, broad beans, fresh herbs and grana padano
  • Serves icon Serves 6
  • Time icon Hands-on time 45 min, oven time 20 min

Serve Italian chef Francesco Mazzei’s baked pasta – in little bowls – as a dinner party starter.

Francesco says: “The baked bucatini is served at room temperature, and making it ahead allows the flavours time to develop and the dish time to set. This recipe encompasses all the tastes of spring: fresh, verdant peas, beans and fragrant herbs. It’s a perfect showcase for some great Italian cheeses, too – a real crowdpleaser that all ages will love.”

If you’re making this for a dinner party; try Francesco’s lamb cutlets, with cannellini beans and balsamic-roasted carrots, as the main course.

Nutrition: per serving

Calories
538kcals
Fat
21.6g (13.1g saturated)
Protein
26.2g
Carbohydrates
56.9g (6.8g sugars)
Fibre
5.8g
Salt
0.8g
Calories
538kcals
Fat
21.6g (13.1g saturated)
Protein
26.2g
Carbohydrates
56.9g (6.8g sugars)
Fibre
5.8g
Salt
0.8g

Ingredients

For the béchamel sauce

  • 30g unsalted butter
  • 30g plain flour
  • 600ml milk, plus extra (optional)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 clove
  • Whole nutmeg for grating

For the pasta

  • 1 shallot, peeled and finely chopped
  • Knob of butter, plus extra, melted, to drizzle
  • 100g peas (fresh or frozen), blanched
  • 100g broad beans (fresh or frozen), blanched – see tips
  • 350g bucatini pasta (see tips)
  • Small handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • Small handful fresh chives, chopped
  • Small handful fresh marjoram, leaves picked and chopped (see tips)
  • A few fresh mint leaves, chopped
  • 80g baby leaf spinach
  • 150g grana padano riserva, grated
  • 100g fior di latte mozzarella (or other mozzarella), chopped
  • Whole nutmeg for grating
  • Handful breadcrumbs, toasted in a dry pan, to garnish
  • Good-quality fresh pesto to serve

You’ll also need…

  • 6 x small gratin dishes or ramekins (about 250ml each)

Method

  1. For the béchamel, put a large saucepan over a medium heat, add the butter and flour, then gently heat while stirring to form a paste (roux). Gradually add the 600ml milk, stirring continuously. Add the bay leaf and clove, then continue to stir until the sauce is thick, smooth and just coming to the boil. Add a little freshly grated nutmeg and season with salt and white pepper to taste.
  2. In a separate pan over a medium heat, gently cook the shallot in the butter until soft and translucent – about 10 minutes. Add the blanched peas and broad beans, stir, season and set aside.
  3. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the pasta and cook for a couple of minutes less than stated on the pack instructions. Strain the pasta and put it straight into the béchamel sauce while still hot. Add the chopped herbs, spinach, vegetable mixture, most of the grana padano, half the mozzarella and a grating of nutmeg. Gently mix everything together, stirring in a little extra milk, if needed, to loosen.
  4. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/gas 4. Lift the pasta from the pan with tongs, divide evenly among the baking dishes and spoon over any sauce left in the pan. Top with the remaining grana padano, mozzarella and a drizzle of melted butter. Bake for 20 minutes until golden and bubbling on top (see Make Ahead).
  5. To serve, sprinkle with the toasted breadcrumbs and spoon over a little good-quality fresh pesto.

delicious. tips

  1. For best results, double-pod the broad beans, removing the thin outer shell as well as the pod.

    Bucatini is a type of pasta shaped like hollow spaghetti, but if you
    can’t find it, use spaghetti. Fior di latte mozzarella is made with cow’s milk rather than buffalo milk.

    Use a pinch of dried marjoram if you can’t find the fresh herb.

  2. Ideally, make the bucatini a day ahead (don’t add the breadcrumbs or pesto), then cover and chill. Bring to room temperature, then add the pesto and toasted breadcrumbs to serve.

  3. A riper Italian white, such as a fiano, from Sicily.

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