200g fregola or giant couscous
300g French beans
300g Helda flat beans (or young, stringless runner beans)
4 big handfuls rocket leaves
Finely pared zest of 1 lemon
For the pesto dressing
1 clove of garlic, crushed
50g pine nuts
50g pecorino, grated
2 handfuls mint leaves, plus extra for serving
4 big handfuls flat leaf parsley
125ml lemon juice
100ml extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra to serve
1 tsp fine sea salt, more to taste
Freshly ground black pepper
Remove and discard the tops, but not the tails, of the green beans and cut in half across the middle. Trim the stem end of the flat beans, then slice on a slight diagonal into 3-4cm lengths.
Pour the fregola or giant couscous into a saucepan of salted boiling water and cook for about 12 minutes (or as suggested on the packet) until the grains are swollen and soft. Drain in a sieve, run under the cold tap briefly and leave to cool. Wipe out the saucepan.
While the fregola is cooking, make the pesto dressing. In a food processor or large pestle and mortar, grind the garlic and pine nuts to a paste with a pinch of salt, then blend in the pecorino. Add the mint and parsley and blend to a chunky purée. Stir in the lemon juice, then mix in the olive oil until everything is combined. Taste and season with the salt and a few pinches of pepper. Tip into a mixing bowl and stir in the drained fregola.
Refill the saucepan with salted water and bring to the boil. Add the beans and cook for 3-4 minutes until they are just done. Drain and quickly run under the cold tap to cool. Drain again, shaking off any water.
Mix the beans with the fregola and half the lemon zest. Taste and add salt if necessary, then lightly toss in the rocket and divide the salad between 4 plates or wide bowls. Add a splash more olive oil to each one, followed by a grind more pepper, then scatter with a few extra mint leaves and threads of lemon before serving.
Lucas Hollweg is an award-winning food writer, cookbook author and cook. A former Sunday Times journalist and cookery columnist, he writes for a wide range of food publications. His most recent book is Good Things to Eat.
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