I’ll be honest with you. Fava beans are crazy high maintenance. But that shouldn’t put you off.
They’re eaten by the bushel in Tuscany but remain fairly unknown in other parts of world. Have you tried them yet? If you’ve had broad beans, one of their many aliases, then you’ve had some. They look similar to both edamame and lima beans, and are faintly bitter with a unique flavor.
So what makes them so high maintenance?
Well, first you have to rip them out of bed.
They lie inside a furry warm pod, all quietly nestled together in the dark. Frankly, I know how reluctant I am to get out of bed some mornings when I’m all cozy in my blanket, and they’re no different. Or so I imagine.
Then into the jacuzzi for a 5-minute jacuzzi in super-hot (simmering) water while they get kind of puffy, toughen up, and turn a faintly lighter color.
Finally, you need to peel off their jammies to reveal their “inner-bean”, as it were. This inner bean is a vibrant green, with lime green tones, that slides apart into two halves. The nugget you’ve been looking for, and worth the wait. Favas start to show up in the spring and last through early- to mid-summer, depending on where you live, so they’re a perfect way to celebrate Welcome Spring with #SundaySupper this week.
Toss them in olive oil and herbs, or mashed them and spread on a crostini if you want, but one of my favorite ways to enjoy them is tossed into a pasta with herbed ricotta cheese.
Cheese Tortellini with Herbed Ricotta and Fava Beans | #SundaySupper
- 1 1/2 pints halved cherry tomatoes
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 5 peeled and smashed garlic cloves (or 2 tsp Gourmet Garden Stir-In Garlic Paste)
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced - bulb and green stalk
- 1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp pine nuts
Fava Beans and Pasta
- 3 pounds fava bean pods
- 1 16-ounce package cheese tortellini
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped basil
- 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese
- 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- Combine all the Tomato Confit ingredients in a small pot, bring to a low simmer, and cook for 30 minutes.
- Shell the fava beans and bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil over high heat (you should end up with about 3 cups of fava beans). Add the beans and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove, and add the pasta to the water and cook according to the directions on the box. Drain.
- Peel the fava beans, discarding the peel. You should have about 2 cups brightly colored fava beans (the" inner bean").
- Combine all of the Herbed Ricotta ingredients in a small bowl. Fold into the warm pasta. Pour the Tomato Confit over the pasta and gently toss. Add the fava beans and finish with a few grates of Parmesan cheese (optional).
- Serve warm with a hunk of crusty bread and a salad dressed in a vinaigrette.
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