Gigli with borlotti beans and pancetta in mint salsa

Gigli, meaning lilies, resemble a small calla lily. According to Oretta Zanini de Vita in her Encyclopedia of Pasta, "The shape is both pleasing to the eye and functional: it must not break during cooking and, above all, must collect the sauce."

Mint is a foil for the salty, rich pancetta, but parsley, tarragon and basil would also work beautifully.

You'll need

300 gm dried gigli 400 gm fresh podded borlotti beans, from 1kg unpodded (see note) 120 gm slab fatty mild pancetta or lardo, cut into lardons Finely grated pecorino, to serve   Mint salsa 100 ml mild extra-virgin olive oil 1 cup (firmly packed) mint, finely chopped 1 small garlic clove, crushed 1 tsp white wine vinegar


  • 01
  • For mint salsa, stir ingredients in a bowl and season to taste.
  • 02
  • Cook pasta in a large saucepan of boiling salted water until almost al dente (5-6 minutes). Add borlotti beans and cook until beans are tender and pasta is al dente (3-5 minutes). Drain well, reserving 60ml pasta water, then return pasta, beans and water to pan.
  • 03
  • Meanwhile, heat a small frying pan over high heat, add pancetta and fry until crisp (4-5 minutes). Add to the pasta along with the mint salsa and toss to combine. Season to taste and serve topped with plenty of pecorino.

At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people
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At A Glance

  • Serves 4 people

Additional Notes

Fresh borlotti beans are available from select greengrocers. Rinsed canned borlotti beans will also work well.

Drink Suggestion

Perfumed, snappy lagrein

Featured in

Oct 2017

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