Grab yourself some early spring offerings of sweet, grassy green garlic and broad bean shoots – that taste just like the podded bean – then blend with fresh mint, walnuts and zesty lemon for a quick paste to toss through pasta, spread on bruschetta or use to dress roasted vegeatbles.

makes (about 1½ cups) 

2 large handfuls (250g) broad bean shoots, remove leaves and discard the stems leaving about  2 cups (100g)

½ bunch mint leaves

½  teaspoon sea salt

½ cup walnuts, lightly toasted

2 green garlic, roots and tough green tops trimmed, roughly chop white bulb and stem 

finely grated zest of half a lemon

2 tablespoons lemon juice

125ml extra virgin olive oil

In the bowl of the food processor add the broad bean leaves, mint, salt, walnuts, garlic, lemon zest and juice.  Blend until coarsely chopped.  With the motor still running, add the oil, continue blending until a coarse paste forms. 

To store, cover surface with a layer of olive oil, in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week.  

Serving suggestions:

Stir sauce through freshly cooked al dente pasta.

Serve as a dip with raw vegetables, crackers or fresh bread

Spread over grilled sour dough bread and topped with fresh ricotta (see photo).

Serve with grilled meats.

Thin the sauce with additional lemon juice and olive oil to make a dressing for green salads, roasted vegetables or potato salads.

Mark Brancatisano