Wednesday, April 18

Pasta with Mashed Fava Beans

Fava beans just hit our local farmers’ market and will probably be around for just a few weeks before they’re gone. Cooking them is certainly a labor of love and requires some patience as each bean must be plucked from its pod, then quickly blanched in hot water, and finally rid of its tough outer shell before they can be eaten – but it’s so worth the effort. I recommend sitting on the porch with a drink and a friend in order to enjoy the experience as much as possible. Since the end product is nearly perfect by itself, I like to treat them simply by mashing with some herbs, Parmesan, and lemon. The fava mash can then be the basis of numerous meals: simply tossed with pasta (as I did here), spooned on top of grilled meat, or slathered onto toast.

Pasta with Mashed Fava Beans:
  • Remove 1 1/4 lb. fava beans from their pods, then place the beans in boiling water for 30 seconds.
  • Immediately drain beans and run under cold water to stop the cooking process.
  • Pop the beans out of the tough outer shells and place into a bowl.
  • Mash the beans with 1 tbsp. minced fresh basil, 1 tbsp. minced fresh parsley, 1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese, the zest of 1/2 lemon, 1 minced clove of garlic, 3 tbsp. olive oil, salt, and pepper, until a paste forms.*
  • Meanwhile, bring a large pot of water to a boil and cook 1/2 lb. pasta until al dente.
  • Drain, reserving 1/2 c. pasta cooking water.
  • Toss the pasta with the fava bean mash and a handful of grated Parmesan, adding some of the water as necessary to moisten it.**
  • Check for seasoning, divide, and serve.

Serves two
*I like to keep my mash on the chunky side.
**I added about 1/4 c. total.