Meera Sodha’s vegan recipe for broken pasta with broad beans and rocket | food

WI need to talk about lasagna sheets. I always have a box in the cupboard, even though I rarely commit the time and effort to making a lasagna (a twice-yearly event at most). Unlike most other pasta, where the shape dictates what you do with it, lasagne are the most flexible of all in that you can break them up as you wish. Here, I’ve used them to mimic fazzoletti, or handkerchief pasta, which are usually served with pesto. Here, I’ve used broad beans and rocket as the base for a pesto of sorts and cut them with toasted almonds, nutritional yeast and lemon.

Broken pasta with broad beans and rocket

You’ll need a blender or food processor. Nutritional yeast adds deep, savory flavor and is widely available in supermarkets. To defrost the broad beans quickly, for over some boiling water, leave for a minute, then drain. Most dried lasagna sheets are naturally vegan (but do check, because some contain egg).

Prep 10 minutes
cooking 20 mins
serves 4

75g flaked almonds
200g frozen broad beansdefrosted, or about 600g fresh podded beans
1 garlic clovepeeled
120ml extra virgin olive oilplus a little more to finish
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
3 tbsp lemon juice
(from 1-2 lemons)
100g wild rocket
fine sea salt
350g dried lasagna
ebroken in half (or into large shards)

Put a frying pan on a medium heat until hot, then add all the flaked almonds and cook, tossing every 30 seconds, for three to four minutes, until they’re a shade of gold. Tip into a bowl to stop them cooking further.

Put the broad beans, garlic, oil, nutritional yeast, lemon juice, 75g of the rocket, 50g of the almonds and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt in a food processor and pulse to a coarse, pesto-like texture.

Bring two liters of water to a rolling boil, then add two teaspoons of salt. Vigorously stir the water, then drop in the pasta and boil for about eight minutes, until tender but still with a little bite. Scoop out a mugful of the cooking water, then drain the pasta.

Tip the drained pasta back into the still hot pan, pour over the sauce and about 200ml reserved water and stir vigorously, so each piece of pasta is evenly coated in the sauce. Check the seasoning, adding a little more salt or extra pasta water as needed for taste and texture: you want a loose sauce, but one that still clings to each piece of pasta.

Divide the pasta between plates or shallow bowls and place a small handful of the remaining 25g rocket in the center of each mound. Scatter the remaining 25g almonds over the top, generously drizzle each portion with olive oil and serve.

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