Pasta with Broad Beans, Aubergine and Green Walnut Sauce

The neon green colour of the sauce may alarm some people but green things are good for you right?  Anyway its delicious and nutritious.  The walnuts (along with the broad beans) pack a protein punch and are full of phytonutrients, not to mention omega 3 fatty acids and vitamin E. There are potatoes as well as pasta, a combination I first became accustomed to in Sicily where they serve pasta with pesto, potatoes and green beans.  This may seem like a carb overload but you can just use less pasta.  In this dish the potatoes are baked so the flavour of their thick skin adds to the dish, and you need the oven on to cook the aubergine in any case.

Pasta with Broad Beans, Aubergine and Green Walnut Sauce

Ingredients for a hearty main course for 2

75g (2 and 1/2 ounces) of chopped walnuts

4 small potatoes (about 500g or 17 and 1/2 ounces), scrubbed

an aubergine

a large bunch of flat leaf parsley, washed and with most of the leafless stalks removed

a tablespoon of lemon juice or cider vinegar

half a teaspoon of salt

black pepper

125g (4 and a 1/2 ounces) of frozen broad beans (or fresh, cook for longer)

3 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped

140g (5 ounces) of wholewheat pasta

a teaspoon of agave nectar (or other sweetener)

salad leaves and half a finely sliced red onion to garnish

Method

Turn the oven to 200C (425F, gas mark 7) and put the potatoes in on the top shelf (there’s no really any need to preheat it in this instance).  They will take about 30 minutes depending on the size

In the meantime put the chopped walnuts in a small bowl and pour on just enough boiling water to cover them (if you use more than 100ml drain some off before blending)

Cut the aubergine into 1/2cm (1/4 of an inch) rounds and place on a baking tray, spray or brush them with oil and bake for about 20 minutes, until golden and slightly charred in places

Put the parsley, garlic, lemon juice (or vinegar), salt , pepper, olive oil, agave nectar and the soaked walnuts with their soaking liquid in a blender and blitz to a paste

Cook the pasta for nine minutes (or according to the packet), adding the broad beans for the last three.  Add a spoon or two of the cooking liquid to the sauce to loosen it

Quarter the baked potatoes, put them on top of the pasta along with the aubergines and spoon on the sauce

Serve with the salad leaves and chopped onion

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