Fresh fava beans are yet another item I have come to love and eagerly anticipate each year. As soon as I heard that they were showing up at the Greenmarket, I had Mike keep an eye out for them, and I was thrilled when he told me he snagged some.
Favas can be a little labor-intensive, as they have to be removed from their spongy pods and the individual beans peeled, but as with shelling peas, I don’t mind the work, and find the reward well worth it. Most people blanch the shelled favas before peeling off the skins, but I usually just peel them before cooking.
I ended up with about two cups of favas, and then came the hardest part – trying to decide what to do with them. I had a bunch of ideas in mind, and had looked at several recipes throughout the course of the day for inspiration, but I was still torn. I finally narrowed it down to two preparations, and Mike made the final decision – a light pasta dish with blanched favas, arugula and lemon.
The pasta we used was a delicious golden beet and goat cheese ravioli from Casa Tua in the Essex Street Market. I decided to make an arugula and lemon puree as a base for the pasta in addition to the fresh arugula I would add on top; a couple of garlic cloves, some kosher salt, the juice and zest of a lemon, and a big handful of young wild arugula leaves went into the mini chopper, I pureed the mixture until smooth, and then blended in about 1/4 cup of olive oil to finish it.
I spooned the arugula and lemon puree onto our plates, reserving a spoonful or so to toss the blanched favas with. I placed the ravioli on top of the puree, spooned the favas on top of that, and added a small handful of arugula leaves to each plate. A few crumbled walnuts, a little more lemon zest, and some thick shards of Pecorino Romano cheese were the finishing touches.
This turned out even better than I had hoped. The colors of the beet pasta and the favas and arugula were gorgeous on the plate, the dish was light but very satisfying, and the flavors complemented each other beautifully. This is definitely one to keep in our repertoire for fava bean season.