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Saturday, 16 June 2012

Fava bean and tomato pasta

Fava beans generally get a bad rap.  I think it might have something to do with Anthony Hopkins or the fact that you have to peel them twice or that they can cause potentially fatal hemolytic anemia in people with hereditary glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase deficiency.  Whatever the reason, their poor reputation is ill deserved because their buttery texture, bright vegetal flavour and high protein content (26g/100g, more than steak or fish) really can't be beat.  Sure they take a lot of work and they might kill you ... or the people eating them might kill you ... but it's a small price to pay either way.

In addition to liver and a nice Chianti there are dozens of ways to enjoy the Fava bean, all of which are excellent.  I'm partial to this one because it's simple, fast, cheap and delicious.  It could be a base to a grilled pork chop or a stand alone meal as shown here.  You could replace the bacon with anchovies or capers if you were vegetarian or leave them out all together.
6 servings fresh or dried pasta
~15 pods fresh fava beans, shelled (50-100 beans)
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
1/2 pound smokey bacon chopped
1/2 shallot, diced
1 clove garlic, diced
1 cup white wine
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 tbsp olive oil
pasta of your choice (I used linguine)

Cook the bacon over low heat until crispy.  Remove to dry on paper towels.

Boil the beans in very salty water for ~5 minutes and then plunge them into ice water to that the skins loosen off the beans.  Peel the skin off the beans and set them aside in a bowl.

Saute the garlic and shallot in olive oil until soft and fragrant.  Add the tomatoes and cook until soft.  Add wine, reduce by half and set aside.

Cook the pasta in salted water until aldente and drain, reserving a cup of pasta water.  You can use dried pasta or our basic pasta dough if you've got the time and patience.

Toss the sauce, beans, bacon, Parmesan and pasta together in a serving bowl adding in the pasta water as necessary.