There is a change of mood in autumn, when the yearning for crunchy, light salads and grills gives way to a need for food with more substance and comfort. Beans are a staple in my house, a unique ingredient full of protein and fibre, so great for doling out the nutrients. As importantly, they soak up flavour, so simmer and sweat them with enough garlic, herbs and aromatics (as well as the requisite fat), and they will collapse on to plates, oozing with flavour and silkiness. The perfect vehicle for roast broccoli wedges and a gutsy sauce.
Roast broccoli with rosemary-infused white beans and warm puttanesca
A rich, indulgent dish with soft olive oil-rich beans and the warm, chilli-flecked sauce.
Prep 10 min
Cook 40 min
1 large head broccoli or 2 small
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and black pepper
1 white onion, peeled and finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 sprig rosemary (optional)
2 x 400g tins cannellini beans, drained and rinsed in cold water
For the puttanesca
3 tbsp olive oil
3 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced
2 tbsp capers
¼-½ tsp crumbled chilli flakes (I like ancho or arbol, but any will do)
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
70g de-stoned black olives, roughly chopped
Heat the oven to 200C (180C fan)/390F/gas 6. Warm the oil for the puttanesca in a small pan over a medium heat and fry the garlic until tender – about two to three minutes. Add the anchovies, squishing them into the pan with your spoon, followed by the capers. Once the capers are sizzling away, add the chilli and tomatoes, bring to simmering point and leave to cook gently while you get on with the broccoli and beans.
Line a baking tray with parchment or silicon. Cut the broccoli into quarters through the stem, lay out on the tray and rub with a tablespoon of oil. Season and roast for 20-25 minutes, until charred around the edges and tender in the middle.
To make the beans, warm two tablespoons oil in a saucepan and add the onion, garlic and rosemary, if using. Season generously then sweat gently for 10 minutes until the onion is soft. Remove the rosemary sprig, carefully tear the leaves from the stalk and return the leaves to the pan.
Add the beans with 200ml cold water, roughly mash with a potato masher and simmer gently while the broccoli is cooking. (You can also blitz the beans with a stick blender if you prefer a smoother puree.)
When the broccoli is ready, divide the beans between plates with one to two pieces of broccoli on top, depending on their size. Spoon over the warm puttanesca, scatter each plate with some olives and drizzle with your best olive oil. Eat at once.
The simple flex
Remove the anchovies from the puttanesca and you also have a great vegetarian sauce – just up the garlic to four large cloves and add an extra tablespoon of capers.