Italian Regional Recipes Primi Piatti: Pasta, Rice, Soups

Rigatoni with broad beans, pork cheek, pecorino

Broad beans, pecorino and cured jowl bacon are ingredients typical of the cuisine from Lazio. You can find them in almost all the well-known recipes from around Rome: the Vignarola Vegetable Spring Side and Pasta Alla Carbonara.

The pasta we cooked today is usually enjoyed during spring, when the broad beans are in season. If you’ve never tried freshly picked broad beans, believe us… you’re in for a treat. If spring is already gone, worry not: frozen broad beans will be good enough to enjoy this dish during the whole year!

Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 10 mins | Cooking time: 15-20 mins

  • Rigatoni or any short pasta: 350 g
  • Broad beans: 200 g
  • Cured jowl bacon or smoked bacon: 100 g
  • Pecorino, grated: 80 g
  • Mint, fresh: 4 leaves
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO): as needed
  • Salt and pepper: to taste


Tip: If you prefer, you can use frozen broad beans and get almost the same final result. Just make sure to take the beans out of the freezer a few hour before cooking!

Clean the broad beans by removing the pods and the petioles. Boil the bread beans in a pot of salted water for 5 minutes, or until cooked.

Finely chop the mint and set it aside. Dice the jowl bacon into small cubes and pan-fry it until crispy.

Tip: Do not add any fat to the pan where you’re frying the bacon! That means no oil, no butter and no margarine: the bacon is fatty enough to not burn, and will actually become crispier than if you’d add fat.

Drain the broad beans and add them to the pan with the jowl bacon, along with the mint.

Tip: if you use a skimmer to remove the beans from the water, you can reuse it to boil the pasta! Check out our tips and tricks to avoid wasting water in the kitchen: How to Re-Use Cooking Water

Sautè the beans and the bacon for about 5 minutes.

Boil the pasta in a pot of salted water and drain it when it is still al dente. Add the pasta to the beans and bacon in the pan and sautè everything together over medium heat for a further 5 minutes.

Serve warm, topped with a generous handful of pecorino and some freshly ground black pepper.

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