It’s spring. The best time to find some fava beans. (Although, because food tends to travel long distances, you may find them during other seasons.)
When I worked at Batali’s restaurant, Lupa, in NYC, springtime fava beans were on the menu every day. In the prep kitchen, shucking the beans was a daily routine. We shucked and parboiled with love. And the beans ended up in pasta, vegetable sides, and appetizers. I LOVE them.
You can often find them at international markets. When you buy them, buy a lot. The pods are bulky and once you get the beans out, the volume shrinks to about a quarter of the original beans-in-the-pod. But the little beans are rich, in a vegetable-healthy way.
Here’s a recipe for a quick pasta dish with fava. I added shallot and mushrooms and a little bit of fresh herbs — basil & parsley — to go with spaghetti.
First: break open the pods and remove the beans. Discard the pods.
Now: bring a medium saucepan– half-way filled with water — to a boil. Add a little salt, add beans. Par-boil for about 1-2 minutes. Then drain, and run under cool water. We’re not trying to cook the beans here. We want to loosen the shell coating.
Here’s where it gets a little tedious (but so worth it!): peel shell off of each bean. I usually pull from the thick bump on one end of the shell.
Inside the tender beans are bright deep green.
Now you’re ready to start your pasta sauce. Put a pasta pot of water on the stove to boil. Sauté a minced shallot and a handful of sliced mushrooms, and your fava beans in a few tablespoons of olive oil. Cook at a lively simmer for about 3 minutes. Then add a 1/4 of dry white wine. Let it simmer and almost evaporate.
I love some toasted breadcrumbs with this dish. Just add a 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs or Panko to a small frying pan. Add a drizzle of olive oil, and sauté until browned.
As your fava/mushrooms mixture cooks, boil some spaghetti. When spaghetti is done, drain (reserving a cup of pasta water), add to sauté pan with fava. Cook for another 2 minutes, coating pasta with sauce. If too dry, add pasta water and a little olive oil. Then a handful of the breadcrumbs.
Mix them in. Serve. Eat. Mangia. Enjoy!
Spaghetti with Fava Beans and Mushrooms
1 1/2 pounds fava bean (in pods)
2-3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for drizzling
1 shallot, peeled and minced
1 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2-3/4 pound spaghetti
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup breadcrumbs or Panko
handful basil and or parsley leaves, rough chopped
salt to taste
Shuck the beans from the pods. Discard pods. Bring a half pot of water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add beans and boil for 1-2 minutes. Drain and rinse in cool water.
Peel shells off of fava beans. Heat 2-3 tablespoons olive oil in a large saute pan. When hot, add minced shallot, sliced mushrooms and fava beans. Saute until the mushrooms brown. Add the wine and let evaporate. Season with salt. Cook for about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat a pasta pot of water to a boil. Add spaghetti and cook to al dente. When done, drain (reserve a cup of pasta water) and add to pan with vegetables. Toss to coat, cook for 2-3 minutes more. Add more olive oil or pasta water if too dry. Add a handful of toasted breadcrumb. Mix in. Add herbs. Taste for seasoning, add more salt if needed. Serve.
Yum! When growing up in New Orleans, in the spring my grandfather would come home with sacks of favas……olive oil, garlic and ham/tasso……..spring had arrived!
Thanks for your wonderful recipe!!
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