Asparagus on Garlicky White Bean Puree with Crisp Pancetta
Asparagus is the most wonderful vegetable. To prepare, simply bend at the end and it will snap off in exactly the right place. Beans and pulses are very good for us and we don’t use them often enough—pureed they are wonderful with all sorts of things.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 10 minutes
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic
310 g (10 oz) canned white beans e.g. cannelini, butter beans
4 slices pancetta
2 bunches asparagus
extra virgin olive oil
- Melt butter in a small saucepan and cook garlic gently over low heat. Add beans, including their liquid (see Lyndey’s note), and heat through.
- Mash or puree in food processor.
- Grill or dry-fry pancetta in a non-stick pan.
- Meanwhile, bring plenty of water to the boil in a frying pan or asparagus steamer and cook asparagus for a few minutes, or until cooked but still firm. (You could also use your microwave.) Drain.
- To serve, divide bean puree between 4 plates, top with asparagus, crisp pancetta and a drizzle of olive oil. Serve immediately.
Lyndey’s Note: Taste the liquid in the canned beans—sometimes it has food acid in it which is not very palatable. If so, drain and rinse beans and substitute water or stock for the liquid.
Wine: Choose the classic wine to serve with asparagus—sauvignon blanc—to highlight its crisp herbaceousness.