Weekday Vegetarian: Pasta with Fava Beans and Pecorino Romano


Photo: Emma Alter

Once I discovered earlier this spring how really delicious fava beans are, I have been buying them every time I see them. There's no doubt they are a bit more work that the average bean, but I love the taste and the texture and I think it's worth the work. The season isn't very long, and I thought it was over because I hadn't seen fava beans in the organic market where I shop for awhile, but suddenly there they were again. This may be the last hurrah for them for this year. My son and his girlfriend, Rebecca were staying with us for a few days, and neither of them had ever had fava beans before. I'm always happy to introduce people to new things, especially when they are open to something different. If you haven't tried them before, go ahead and take a chance. If you love shelled peas, you will love fava beans. In fact, we had some peas left over from our dinner the night before and we just added them to the recipe.

The recipe calls for putting the basil and garlic into a food processor, which I don't have here, so we just hand chopped everything. It didn't have the paste texture, but it didn't matter, we all quite liked it. We had leftovers, and I turned it into a pasta salad the next day, which was also delicious.

This recipe is from Bon Appetit, May 1998

Pasta With Fava Beans Pecorino Romano

3 cups shelled fresh fava beans or frozen lima beans, thawed
2 cups coarsely chopped fresh basil
2 large garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil (preferably extra-virgin)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
12 ounces tagliatelle or fettuccine
1/3 cup freshly grated pecorino Romano cheese

1. Cook beans in large pot of boiling salted water until crisp-tender, about 3 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer beans to large bowl. Reserve water in pot.

2. Combine 2 cups beans, 1 cup chopped basil and garlic in processor. Using on/off turns, process until beans are coarsely chopped. Transfer mixture to bowl with whole beans. Add remaining 1 cup basil, olive oil and fresh lemon juice. Stir to blend. Season bean mixture to taste with salt and pepper.

3. Meanwhile, cook pasta in same pot of boiling salted water until tender but still firm to bite. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid. Return pasta to pot.

4. Stir 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid into bean mixture. Add to pasta. Add 1/3 cup grated pecorino Romano cheese and enough remaining cooking liquid to moisten. Season pasta to taste with salt and pepper and serve.

More Fava Bean Recipes
Fava Beans with Peas and Bacon
Falafel with Tahini Sauce

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