Spring Fava Bean Tagliatelle with Mint, Pecorino, and Lemon

photo by Jessica Chappe

Fava beans can be a real deterrent when it comes to cooking for yourself. The beans are incased in not one, but two different kinds of shells! This means that it takes double the time to remove them from inside their extra safe packages. But once you've done the tedious work to get to the bright and soft beans inside, there is a level of satisfaction that is only part of the pay off. The other part is getting to enjoy their unique and special springtime flavor. The farmer's market this time of the year begins to pop with the greenest of spring treasure. Snap peas, English peas, asparagus, fava beans. Although mint grows in the winter in California as well (its hard to keep up with the seasons in a place where most things are always in season), it goes nicely with the spring greens. The lemon adds a really nice zing and brightness. 

Ingredients:

1 packet tagliatelle pasta

Half pound fava beans

Handful chopped mint

Zest of two lemons plus juice

4 medium sized cloves of garlic

Olive oil

Salt

Pepper

Sizeable nub of pecorino for grating

Method:

1. Fava beans: Boil water with a pinch of salt. Pop the beans of of their shells. Toss the beans in the boiling water for 1 minute. Have ice bath ready to blanched the beans. When cool enough, drain the beans in a colander. Poke each bean with a fork and delicately squeeze each bean from its tight casing.

2. Pasta: Boil another big pot of water with a hefty pinch of salt for the pasta. When rapidly boiling, toss noodles in. Cook for 8-10 minutes (or as the package directs). Have a pan ready for the pasta with a light glug and 4 crushed garlic cloves. Drain pasta in a colander, reserving roughly 1/3 cup of the pasta water. Heat the oil and quickly transfer pasta to pan with pasta water. Throw in your fava beans, lemon zest and juice. Heat in the pan until the water cooks off.

3. Serve hot with mint, lots of pecorino and cracked pepper.