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Pasta Salad with Flagolet Beans, Roast Peppers, Rocket & Chilli Dressing

SERVES 4 SUPER EASY

Overview

A salad like this is a meal in itself. Not only because it’s got taste, texture and variety, but because it’s loaded with nutrition as well. There’s an Italian influence happening here, and even though the chilli dressing might be from further afield, I believe that most Italians would approve.

Ingredient list

225 g. dried flagolet beans, soaked overnight in cold water
1 small onion, halved
1 small carrot
1 teaspoon salt
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
1 Tablspoon olive oil
2 teaspoons lemon juice
8 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
1/2 teaspoon crushed red chillies
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
225 g. ( 8 oz. ) large macroni, penne, or bombolini pasta
1 large bunch rocket leaves
slivers of fresh Parmesan to garnish

Method

Drain the flagolet beans, and rinse them with plenty of cold water.  Place in a heavy based pan, and cover them with cold water until it is about 3 cm. ( 1 inch ) above the level of the beans.  Bring to the boil over medium high heat, and then add the carrot, and the onion.  Simmer gently for approximately 1 hour, or until the beans are tender, but still holding their shape.  Season with 1 teaspoon of salt about 15 minutes before they are finished cooking.Reserve the beans, and their cooking liquid, but discard the vegetables.  All their goodness is now in the cooking liquid.

Preheat the oven to 200oC / 400oF.  Rub the peppers with a little olive oil, and roast in the hot oven, ( or under a grill ) until the skin is well blistered.  Remove from the heat, and cover with plastic wrap, as this helps the skin to release.  When cool, peel, seed, and cut into strips.  Heat the olive oil gently in a small saucepan with the peppers, garlic, crushed chillies, and cracked pepper.  Warm gently for 15 minutes, then allow to cool.  Add the lemon juice, and the salt.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to the boil, and add the pasta.  Cook to the al dente stage, and drain.  Refresh under cold water, and drain again.

In a large bowl, toss the pasta with the drained beans, and the peppers mixture.  Add the rocket, and carefully divide among the plates and garnish with the slivers of Parmesan.  

( These can be made simply by “peeling “a large piece of Parmesan with a vegetable peeler.)  Serve at once.

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