Thursday, May 15, 2014

Fava Bean Pasta

Here's one of the things I did with some of the harvest of nice green spring vegetables I got in April and May.

I didn't grow any hardneck garlics this time, but I did grow Elephant garlic, which makes some nice fat scapes.

Here is the Swiss chard before it started bolting. I like this "perpetual spinach" type variety with it's small, tender leaves.

But the star of this dish was the fava beans. I've never even eaten fava beans before, but they turned out to be really easy to grow over the winter, and they're really tasty. They are a little bit of a pain to prepare in the kitchen, though. First you have to get them out of their pods, then blanch them in boiling water for 2 minutes.

Next you need to peel them. The seed coats of fava beans are really tough and inedible, so you have to take each bean individually and pop them out of their skins. At least the beans are pretty big, about the size of a large lima bean, so you don't have to peel too many to get enough for a meal. In the picture you can see the peels on the left and the peeled beans on the right.

Then I sliced up the elephant garlic scapes into small pieces.

Sautéed the scapes in a pan with some prosciutto and olive oil. I wanted to use pancetta, but couldn't find any, so I used prosciutto instead, torn up into little pieces.

Meanwhile, I cooked some pasta.

The cooked pasta, peeled fava beans, and chard were added to the pan once the prosciutto was starting to get a little crispy. That was stirred around until the chard wilted.

To finish off the dish, I added some cracked black pepper, a little of the reserved pasta cooking water, some shredded parmesan cheese, and some heavy cream to make a nice sauce. A splash of white wine would have been nice too, but I was out. It was still really good without it.

So this dish used three ingredients from my garden. It can be tweaked too. Some fresh green peas would be good instead of or in addition to the fava beans. I would think any kind of green could work in place of the chard. Garlic cloves could be used instead of garlic scapes, but garlic scapes have such a nice mild flavor.

Next year I'm growing a lot more fava beans!

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