Barba di frate pasta recipe escape to the farm kate humble
26 Oct

Make the Barba di frate pasta from episode 3 of Escape to the Farm.


  • 2 finely diced small onions
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Pinch of mace, salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 250g barba di frate washed and hard stalks removed
  • 300g fresh spaghetti/ trenette
  • Optional extra: 50g diced sun-dried tomatoes and/or 50g julienned strips of Parma ham
  • Parmesan shavings


  • Soften diced onion in olive oil in hot frying pan. When cooked remove from heat but keep warm.
  • If using tomatoes and/or parma ham add to pan before taking off the heat and give a quick stir to mix all ingredients.
  • Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil. Add your pasta and give a good stir so it doesn’t stick together then immediately add the barba di frate. Do not cover because the barba di frate will turn black.
  • Cook until al dente then drain well.
  • Add your chopped onion mixture to the pasta, along with the lemon zest and mace and black pepper.
  • Check the seasoning in case you need more salt. Barba di frate is slightly salty so you may not.
  • Pour into warmed dishes and scatter over the parmesan shavings and eat immediately!

Barba di frate, also known as roscani in the Marche and agretto in Lazio (Italy), is an unusual vegetable which has chive-like leaves and a slightly acid tastes, quite similar to spinach. It is a member of the spinach and beetroot family and is considered a delicacy. Barba di fate is good dressed with extra virgin olive oil, garlic and chopped mint, and served with hard-boiled eggs and fresh sardines cooked on a barbecue. Never cover barba di frate when cooking or it will go black.

If you find barba di frate difficult to buy at this time of the year, spinach is a very good alternative (and the same family) but only put it in when the pasta is cooked just before draining, as it only needs blanching.

Recipe credit: Franco Taruschio.

Find out more about Wye Valley Salads, where Kate got her Barba di frate.

Back to Escape to the Farm.

for more about Humble By Nature
Sign up to our newsletter

Stay up to date with all the news from Kate’s farm, including the latest courses, events, animal arrivals & special offers. We won’t share your details and you can unsubscribe at any time.