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Jun 22, 2007

Fava-licious



First things first: I've started a little recipe collection here (a link is to the right, as well) that's pretty slim at the moment, but will grow in time! Just like all those summer gardens ...

Which leads me to second things second: fava beans.

When I took Michael to Millennium for his birthday, we had an appetizer of fava beans on whole grain bread (I think?) with pea shoots and endive. It was delicious: fresh, lightly cooked and tossed in olive oil, and all the vegetables were perfectly tender. I've been wanting to try making favas myself, though I haven't really had the opportunity.

But Tuesday's surprise trip to the farmer's market reminded me to buy some and experiment. I decided to make a simple pasta dish with roasted tomato sauce, leftover vegan sausage, mushrooms -- and favas.

The first fun thing about favas is that you get to de-pod them not once, but twice. The initial de-podding is the most interesting, I think, because the seeds are couched in a rather ugly, lumpy casing (see above), but inside, the pod is very soft and velvety. The beans themselves need to be boiled for a couple of minutes in salted water, and then placed in an ice bath before being slipped from their skins. It seems like a lot of work, but like many cooking-related activities (pitting cherries by hand, anyone?) it is soothing, almost meditative. And the end result is, undoubtedly, worth the extra effort.


{Favas, shelled, and ready for use]

Next time, I'd like to use them in a salad, or even just tangled up with a bit of pasta dressed with olive oil and salt and pepper. The dish I made the other night was delicious, but the favas were unfortunately a bit overshadowed by all the other ingredients warring for attention. As always, for me, simplicity is best.


[Tuesday dinner, June 2007]

Pasta with Mushrooms, Tomatoes, Vegan Sausage, and Fava beans
, inspired by a recipe on smitten kitchen

1/2-pound angel hair pasta, broken into 2-inch pieces
2 sundried-tomato faux sausages (or whatever you like), sliced
1 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1 medium tomatoes
bunch fava beans, shelled, blanched, and ready for use
2 cups vegetable broth or water

Roast the tomatoes on 400 F for about 15 minutes until skins are slightly blackened. In a food processor, combine the tomatoes, garlic, and onion puree until combined. In a large pot, pour in about a 1/4-cup of olive oil and heat until very hot. Add the pasta, and cook over medium heat until it browns slightly, stirring constantly. Add the tomato puree and cook a few minutes, stirring often. Add the vegetable broth or water and bring to a simmer, then cover and cook for about 15 minutes, or until pasta is soft.

In a frying pan, saute the mushrooms in olive oil and a splash of red wine (if you have one open, or -- who am I kidding? -- just open one). Add the faux sausage and cook about a minute.

When the pasta is cooked thoroughly, add the mushrooms, sausage, and favas, stirring and tossing to combine well. Add fresh basil and salt and pepper to taste.

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