Monday, July 15, 2013
Fava beans and a nice chianti
Our CSA provided us with 4 pounds of fava beans, which felt like an overwhelming amount for newbie fava bean-eaters. Once we shelled them and peeled their skins off, we ended up with about 3 cups of beans, which was a bit underwhelming considering the work we put into them.
See? The relatively empty bowl on the right has the edible bits.
First, we had to pull the beans out of their pods, which took about 20 minutes with both of us doing it.
Then I blanched the beans in boiling water for what was supposed to be 4 minutes, but ended up being more like 7 because they were so gigantic. At that point the skin on each bean was all puckered up, like this...
We had to pull the skin off each bean, which was time consuming at first, until Josh discovered a great technique: squeeze the bean at one end, pinch off a tiny bit of the skin at the other end, and the bean will pop right out into the bowl.
We spent about 10 minutes doing this, so altogether it took an hour of our combined time for 3 cups of fava beans. It was actually really fun to shell them, though, so we didn't mind spending time on it.
Then I made a delicious fava bean pasta recipe from our CSA's blog, which I'll include here with some slight modifications based on what happened during my trial run...
1 1/2 cups shelled, blanched fava beans
1/2 large onion, diced
1 cup diced carrot and/or fennel
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 slices bacon, diced (I didn't include this, and I should have)
1 1/3 cup tubetti, ditalini, or other small pasta (I used fresh orecchiette from the farmer's market)
3 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup grated parmesan
Salt and pepper
1-2 tablespoons basil or mint (optional)
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onions, carrots and/or fennel and a few pinches of salt and cook for 7 to 8 minutes, stirring often. You may need to reduce the heat a bit. Now add the broth and bring to a boil. Add the pasta, stirring well and then simmer for about 10 minutes uncovered. (I used fresh, not dried, pasta, so I let the veggie brother simmer for 7 minutes before adding the pasta for the last 3 minutes.) Add the fava beans, and cook until most of the liquid has been absorbed. (The original recipe said 3-4 minutes, but it took about 15 for me.) Add the cream and a generous amount of black pepper. Cook uncovered for about 3 minutes until it thickens slightly. Stir in the parmesan and the herbs, and adjust salt and pepper to taste. Serve with a glass of chianti and watch Silence of the Lambs if you think you can handle it.