Linguini with Runner Beans, Tahini, Lemon & Honey Sauce & Sesame
Although I loathe fake Italian recipes, of course all of my recipes are improvised, innovated and invented, based on my knowledge and understanding of Italian cooking traditions. These have been picked up from my mother, my family, from friends and from... Well... Life as an Italian! Hehe!
And still... I like to do things that are a little out of the ordinary at times, as you know and to try other flavors and ingredients than those that we normally would use in Italy. And this lovely plate of linguini is a perfect example of me doing that at my best!
I suppose you could say that the flavors and ingredients in this dish could be seen as being more Jewish than Italian, with the combination of lovely, rich, sesame tahini and lemon... But this was a flavor that I thought would go wonderfully with both fresh beans and pasta... And guess what? I was absolutely right!
To prepare 2 good portions of linguini, apart from the pasta itself, I needed just a handful of runner beans (around 10-15 beans), 1 spring onion, 1 lemon, 1 teaspoon of tahini, 1 teaspoon of honey, 1 teaspoon of sesame seeds, a little fresh parsley and obviously, salt, pepper and a little olive oil. So again... A very simple and economical meal!
The honey takes away the bitterness of the lemon, or rather it balances it out nicely... Which is even more excellent, because it also makes the flavor of the tahini, which is also rather strong, much more balanced and creamy and delicious... And so, so, good!
Start your linguini boiling and at the same time, begin frying the beans, which I cut into thin slices length-wise, together with the finely chopped spring onion. Fry for 4-5 minutes until the beans begin to soften and also slightly brown, along with the onion.
After the linguini have boiled for around 5 minutes, add them to the frying pan along with plenty of the water in which they were boiling and let them simmer along, together with the beans for a further 3-4 minutes.
As the pasta and beans cook, the water becomes absorbed or evaporates away, which of course leaves all of the flavors in the pan trapped in the beans and pasta. After around 3-4 minutes of cooking, add the tahini and honey and plenty of black pepper and stir them in thoroughly. At this point, you can also add the juice of half a lemon.
Continue stirring and cooking away for a further few minutes, until the tahini, honey, lemon juice and residual water have combined into a smooth sauce. Taste and season accordingly, adding salt, honey or more lemon juice to taste... It should be a mild and balanced, lemon and sesame flavor and not necessarily a sweet and sour affair.
Serve with plenty of finely chopped parsley, lemon zest and black pepper and be prepared for a change to your usual Italian pasta dishes!
And of course, a generous sprinkle of sesame seeds will add a nice and nutty crunch which goes fabulously with the flavor of the tahini! Mmmm!
I wish I had thought of making this during the summer months... Oh well, it is better late than never!
Of course, the true beauty of this is the creaminess that lies within... And which becomes instantly apparent again as soon as you mix the pasta together before helping yourself...
...and you might well find yourself helping yourself to a second serving too before you know it!
Very different, very tasty and delicious enough to please an Italian... Or even a Sicilian in my case... Word!