Unexpected Gifts – Borlotti Beans and Risotto


Just when we thought we had enjoyed the last of this years borlotti beans our dinner guests bought us a gift of beans from their tunnel.

They were super fresh and in prime condition in their pink pods. We ate them last night in a risotto .

This is a very tasty and simple dish to make and although it may sound odd, beans and rice make a great combo. The velvety beans stirred into the creamy just cooked rice are delicious.

I cooked the beans first with a little garlic, onion and thyme. The usual herb to cook borlotti beans with seems to be sage but i went out in the dark and pouring rain to pick the herbs and came back with a handful of thyme. I saved the stock from cooking the beans and used that to make the risotto.

Here’s the recipe – it feeds four people

About 300g podded borlotti beans

1 small onion

1-2 cloves garlic

1 stick celery

1 tbs olive oil

a small bunch of thyme

Put everything in a small saucepan, cover with water and simmer for about forty five minutes.


For the risotto

2 onions – peeled and chopped

1 stem celery- diced

25g butter

25mls olive oil

300g arborio rice

1 glass white wine

about 900mls hot stock- use the bean stock and top up with vegetable or chicken stock

125g parmesan cheese – grated

salt and pepper

a small bunch of parsley – chopped

Melt the butter in a small pan and add the olive oil and chopped onions and celery.

When everything begins to sizzle turn the heat to medium and cook for about ten minutes, until the onions have sweated down, Don’t let them brown.

Add the arborio rice and give it a few good stirs then add the white wine. Allow this to bubble up and reduce then start adding the stock little by little. The rice should absorb each addition of stock before you add the next. It shouldn’t be like rice in a swimming pool nor should it stick to the bottom of the pot. What you need is to maintain a gently bubbling pot. Gradually keep adding the stock. After about fifteen minutes it should be getting there – taste a little to check. The rice should still have a little bite to it. If it’s cooked to your taste take it off the heat and beat in the grated Parmesan cheese and season with salt and black pepper. It’s important that the rice isn’t too dry – it should be creamy – so adjust the consistency with a little extra stock before adding the Parmesan if necessary. Finally stir in the reserved borlotti beans and scatter chopped parsley on top.

About lettercollumkitchenproject

A cook that gardens. Sun addict. Not a good addiction in West Cork hence the travel addiction. Add in a splotch of kitchen snooping while away, a big walled organic garden while home and a kitchen full of a bit of everything. Runs an organic bakery/delicatessen/food shop with her husband using food from the garden and the years of accumulated kitchen snooping. Check out the shop and garden at www.lettercollum.ie View all posts by lettercollumkitchenproject

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