Brown-Butter Butter Beans With Lemon and Pesto

Brown-Butter Butter Beans With Lemon and Pesto

These roasted beans are treated in much the same way as toasted gnocchi, and yield similar results: They’re nicely browned on the surface, then coated in an unctuous, lemony, buttery sauce. Make sure to have your pesto and warm brown-butter sauce ready to pour onto the beans right when they come out of the oven, so that the beans remain crispy and the sauce nice and loose. For a vegetarian version, you can swap out the anchovies for some briny capers and leave out the Parmesan. The whole experience is quite rich, so serve these with some lightly cooked leafy greens.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    Heat oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit/230 degrees Celsius. Dry the butter beans very well, then spread them out onto 2 large parchment-lined baking sheets (trays). Add 2 tablespoons oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and plenty of pepper to each baking sheet, toss gently to combine, then spread the beans in an even layer. Roast for 15 minutes, then carefully turn over the butter beans and return to the oven, swapping the positions of both baking sheets. Roast until nicely browned and crispy, another 10 to 15 minutes. Don’t worry if some of the butter beans are broken or split; this lends plenty of crisp texture.
  2. Step 2

    While the beans roast, make the pesto: Add the Parmesan, parsley, scallions, lemon zest, a good pinch of salt and a generous amount of pepper to a food processor, and pulse a few times to finely chop. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and blitz until combined. Transfer to a bowl, stir in 4 teaspoons lemon juice, and set aside.
  3. Step 3

    Add the butter to a large skillet and melt over medium-high heat. Once melted, cook for 4 to 5 minutes, swirling the pan occasionally, until beginning to brown and smell nutty. Add the garlic (it will bubble vigorously) and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the anchovies and cook for 30 to 60 seconds more, or until the garlic is very lightly golden. Stir in the red-pepper flakes, then remove from the heat. Stir in the remaining lemon juice.
  4. Step 4

    Using the parchment paper as a sling, transfer the roasted butter beans to a large platter or divide among plates. Pour the brown butter mixture on top. Dot with some of the pesto, and serve right away, passing the remaining pesto in a bowl alongside.