Fava Beans and Pasta

29 05 2010

That’s right, fava beans. FRESH fava beans! They came in our produce box, but I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Unfortunately, mentioning them to people elicited shudders and references to Silence of the Lambs, which nearly ruined them for me. Gah! Why did they have to do that to fava beans? And the name Hannibal, too. That is also pretty much ruined. *sigh*

I poked around on the interweb for fava bean recipes and noted that they are usually either pureed into a dip or tossed into a pasta dish. I decided to go the pasta route because I thought it would be better for using up the bits and bobs of whatnot in the fridge. I didn’t use a specific recipe, though, just went with the general theme of most of the recipes I saw. The main thing I needed was guidance with the technical aspect of the favas. How does one remove them from their pods? And then what do you do to them? I learned that after you de-pod them, you need to peel each individual bean. That ended up being like some sort of Zen exercise. After peeling bean number 2, a quick search using keywords like, “I am going to kill myself if I have to peel another fava bean please help me” turned up some advice about blanching them first. Blanching, people, that is the key.

Well, if you are lucky enough to get your paws on some fresh fava beans, I totally recommend any sort of riff on this recipe. It was delicious and simple and light, and once I figured out the blanching bit, it went very quickly. Think of this recipe as more of a set of guidelines–really, I just used what I had in the fridge and the pantry.

Fresh Fava Beans with Pasta

  • 1/2 lb fresh fava beans
  • 2 precooked chicken sausages, sliced
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/3 C sliced onion (I think shallots would be better here, but I didn’t have any)
  • 1 clove garlic (Or lots more if you like, of course), minced
  • 1-2 Tbs olive oil
  • 1/2 lb (or more or less) pasta–I used a combination of whole wheat linguini and orzo which is weird, I know, but it’s what I had on hand

Before doing anything, get the favas ready. Open the pods and take beans out. Boil a pot of water on the stove. When the water is at a full, rolling boil, drop the beans in and boil for about 3 minutes. Remove from water and let cool. Then use a knife or your fingernails to peel the beans. I found they easily popped out of their shells if I just sort of ripped open the end with my finger.

The lifeless little skins of the favas. *shudder*

Cook pasta (I used the water from boiling the favas). While pasta is cooking, heat oil in sautee pan and cook garlic and onion for a few minutes over medium heat until soft. Add sliced sausage and swirl it all around for a while. Then add favas and sautee for one or two minutes to get them heated through. Add the cooked pasta and the chopped tomatoes. And, voila! So easy, no?

Obviously this has endless variations. I was thinking kale would be good in it, and maybe a swish of red wine and some grated cheese. Or different veggies altogether. Or no meat. Or regular sausage. Or chicken. See? You could do anything, really. I am hoping I get some more favas so I can work with this some more!

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