Fava and Asparagus Pasta

Fava and Asparagus Pasta

The other night, Mr. Man was helping Miss Thing with her algebra homework, so I settled in to the kitchen and tackled the two and a half pounds of fava beans I’d picked up at whole foods the other day. Normally, I don’t need to buy veggies anymore – atleast, not since joining FFTY and receiving a weekly produce box. But they were on sale for $1.99 a pound – and since last time they came in my box I only received one pound – which yielded a pitiful cup or so of beans after shelling, I decided to pick up a couple of pounds to play with.

There is actually something mindlessly soothing about shelling fava beans – I mean, yes, they’re a bit of a hassle, but if you aren’t in a hurry, it’s really not hard. But anyways, once I had them shelled, blanched and jackets peeled – I decided to make this pasta with them, along with the pound of asparagus that I received in this week’s box. Ever since I read this article at the Kitchn I knew I wanted to try out slicing asparagus, and a pasta seemed like a good way to incorporate sliced aspragus. As an added bonus – it let me play hide the Asparagus for Miss Thing who, in addition to carrots, peas, artichokes, apples, and oranges – doesn’t like Asparagus. When did she become so picky? I have no idea. I’m atleast 98% positive that it’s simply adolescent contrariness and not a true dislike – but either way it’s unpleasant to deal with the whining.

Top - Fava Asparagus Pasta

When preparing asparagus before, I would generally snap the stems off, and then prepare – but I was always sad about how much asparagus went to waste with that method. It wasn’t a big deal, when the weather was cooler and I was making soup stock all the time, because I knew that I would still use them in stock – but with warmer weather, it doesn’t make a lot of sense to heat the entire house with a big pot of boiling stock for several hours, so I haven’t been making stock as often, and all those stalks (and other things) are ending up going to waste. Slicing the asparagus makes the tough, stringy, woody ends easier to eat – which made total sense once I thought about it. I mean – if you’ve ever tried cutting flank or skirt steak with the grain and eating it, you’ll know exactly what I mean.

We’ve had a lot of pasta lately – probably due (atleast in part) to the heat lately. I really don’t want to spend too much time heating up the kitchen when I’m stuck having to run the A/C,  and pasta is quick and delicious. I picked up some quinoa the other day though – so I think I’m going to give that a go as a little change of pace.

I had meant to get some pictures of the prep for this dish, but unfortunately – once I got the fava’s prepared, I realized that it was getting late and that I needed to start on the rest of dinner, so I kind of threw the rest of it together fairly quickly. The longest part of the prep was definitely getting the fava beans prepped – so if you don’t have fava beans, or the time to make them – feel free to sub them with some other sauteed veggie or bean. (Or simply skip) Once the fava beans are prepped though, this dish comes together in about the time it takes to boil the water and cook the pasta. It really is that easy.

Side - Fava Asparagus Pasta

Ingredients:

  • 2 and 1/2 lbs Fava Beans
  • 1 lb Asparagus; sliced in to 1/2″ discs
  • 1 lb Penne Pasta (or other pasta)
  • 1 cup Ricotta Cheese
  • 8 oz Mushrooms; coarsely chopped (I used a mix of Crimini, Trumpet and Lion’s Mane)
  • 1 onion; diced
  • 4 cloves Garlic; minced
  • 2 tbs Butter
  • 1 lemon; juiced
  • 2 tbs Fresh Savory; minced

Method:

  • Shell the Fava Beans, and then blanch them in boiling water for 3-4 minutes.
  • Drain the Fava Beans and transfer to an ice bath to stop the cooking process.
  • When cool enough to touch, peel the outer shell off the bean
  • Set peeled, cooked beans aside
  • Set salted water for pasta on to boil and beging
  • Melt the butter in a large skillet
  • Add the onions and saute until translucent and beginning to turn golden
  • Begin cooking the Pasta to Al Dente *See Note
  • Push the onions to one side of the pan and add the mushrooms
  • Saute the mushrooms for a couple of minutes, and then mix in with the onions
  • When the mushrooms are tender and cooked through, push the onion/mushroom mixture to the side and add the asparagus and garlic
  • Saute the asparagus for 1-2 minutes, and then add the fava beans
  • Stir to combine all the veggies
  • Drain Pasta
  • Add the Ricotta to the hot, empty pasta pot to begin melting
  • Add the skillet full of veggies, the hot pasta, the lemon juice, and the fresh savory to the ricotta
  • Toss to combine and Kosher Salt to taste

*Note: The goal is to have the pasta cooked to Al Dente just as the veggies are done

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