Tonight, I’m preparing a simple pasta dish with fava beans. If you have ever eaten fava beans, you know how delicate and tasty they can be. If you have ever prepared fava beans, you know how many steps it takes before those little nuggets of tender beans are ready for eating.
They’re in season right now and I found a handful of them at Whole Foods the other day. They’ve been in the fridge and I thought today is the day to prepare them, no matter what. First, the thick pod needs to be slit open with your fingers and the little pods of beans shelled out of the pods. Next the beans with their white opaque covering require being parboiled in boiling water for about five minutes. Once they are drained and rinsed under cold water, the final task of preparing them takes place: that is, pulling apart the white rubbery covering and shelling the tender bright green beans into a small bowl. I say small bowl because it takes a lot of fava beans in the pod to harvest a small cupful or handful of the fava beans to actually eat.
Be that as it may, I find the exercise rewarding, especially when I chop up two large cloves of garlic and heat them in some melted unsalted butter in a skillet and add the shelled, shelled beans in the mix to warm them up a little. I sprinkle on some truffle salt (yeah!) and a little black pepper. I scoop them up just when they are warm in the garlicky butter mix and hold them aside.
Then, I prepare the Alfredo sauce that I think I invented but probably not: I melt more butter into a clean skillet, sprinkle in a little flour and whisk it together. Then add some fresh light cream that I shake up beforehand just to make sure it’s creamy and pour some into the pan. I whisk the butter roue and cream so that it is a light consistency – not pasty – and then sprinkle in some shredded parmesan cheese. I taste it with a small spoon and it tastes pretty divine. Turn off the heat, pour it into a bowl and add a little more cream if it looks too thick.
When suppertime is near, I boil a pot of water with salt in it, cook about a third of a box of angel hair noodles and take it out after about five minutes of cooking time. I drain it WELL – because there’s nothing worse than soupy pasta to spoil the dish.
Once the pasta is well drained, I heat up the parmesan alfredo sauce in a large skillet, add the angel hair pasta and stir gently to combine. I taste for thickness of the sauce (not too) in relationship to the amount of parmesan cheese. I’ll add more cheese if it tastes too bland and more cream if needed.
Around the sides of the pasta, I’ll spoon the fava bean garlic mixture, sprinkle on some black pepper, chopped fresh parsley growing near the kitchen sink. and finally, some pieces of fresh basil, cut with scissors at the last minute.
If this doesn’t taste delicious, I don’t know what will. Happy Spring!