Tasmanian vongole with braised tondini beans

We are very excited by our first crop of Tondini beans. This “shell” bean – you have to pod the beans and then cook them like fresh borlotti – is very rare and I have not seen it in Australia before. They are meaty, creamy with very fine flavour, perfect for braising, adding to soups and for pureeing

Tondini beans can be substituted with cannellini beans. If using dried cannellini beans, soak them overnight and, in the morning, rinse, and cover with cold water and cook. If using already cooked, canned beans then drain and rinse well. Add the already cooked cannellini beans once the sauce has thickened.

Serves 4 as a first course

1kg live vongole, well washed
1/4 cup dry white wine
tbsp extra virgin olive oil
onion, peeled and chopped
cloves garlic, minced
300g ripe tomatoes, cored and chopped
cup tondini beans (or can drained and rinsed cannellini beans)
tbsp finely chopped parsley

Salt and pepper

Put the vongole in a large pot with the wine. Place on high heat and cover until vongole have just opened. Drain and set them aside. Heat olive oil in a pot and gently fry onion and garlic till soft but not coloured. Add chopped tomato, tondini beans and a couple of good pinches of salt. Keep simmering until sauce has thickened and beans are tender. Add parsley and drained vongole, season with salt and pepper to taste, mix well and serve.