Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Capellini {Angel Hair pasta} with fava beans and mint pesto

Truly spectacular is what my family called it. Fava beans are in season and so is mint. They are a perfect combination. The freshness of the mint complements the earthy flavor of the fava beans. I also added a handful of frozen peas for freshness, but if you had fresh English peas, they would be perfect.

Fava beans are cumbersome to clean, since it is a three step process and once they are shelled, there is not much left. You have to shell a lot of pods to get a decent amount of beans to work with. Once shelled, the beans need to be separated by size unless you are lucky enough to get all of them in with the same size. Then they need to be steamed - I find the fastest way to do this is to take a shortcut and use the microwave. Once steamed, the dark green beans will almost peek out from their tough and thick skins. Gently press the beans out of their skins. Finally they are ready to be eaten.

I tossed capellini pasta with a mint and pistachio pesto, fresh cooked fava and some frozen peas and it made for a perfect summer evening dish.

Capellini with fava beans and mint pesto

8 oz capellini (angel hair pasta)
2 lbs fresh fava beans in their pods
1/2 cup fresh green peas blanched or frozen peas (defrosted)
1 cup fresh mint leaves, washed and dried
2 cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
1/2 cup shelled roasted unsalted pistachios
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (use the good quality stuff since there is no cooking involved)
scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
Parmesan cheese for grating table-side
  1. First lets tackle the fava beans. Check out the link at the end of the recipe if you would like to see a video showing how to clean the fava beans. But, it is very simple. Shell the beans like you would shell peas. Then segregate the beans by size, since they will take different times to cook. You don't want to eat mushy beans - they are extremely distasteful. Place the large beans in a microwave safe container and add a little water. Cook covered for 2 minutes. Do the same for the small beans but cook for 1 minute. Drain and cool. Then ease the beans out of the skin without breaking them.
  2. Before you make pesto, add water to a 5-6 quart saucepan or dutch oven and bring to a boil for cooking the pasta. While the water comes to a boil, make the pesto. 
  3. For the pesto, add the garlic and pistachio to the food processor and give it a few pulses. Then add two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil and scant 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt and give it a few more pulses till the pistachio and garlic forms a coarse paste. Now add the mint leaves and the balance two tablespoons olive oil and let it process till the mint leaves are fully incorporated.
  4. Cook the pasta as per the instructions on the box - capellini takes only 3 minutes to cook. Save 1/2 cup water before draining the water to thin the sauce if required.
  5. In a large mixing bowl, place the peeled favas, blanched green peas or defrosted green peas and the mint pesto. Add the drained pasta and toss well. You might need to add a few tablespoons of the saved pasta water to thin the sauce. 
  6. Serve with a generous grating of parmesan cheese tableside.
Serves 3

Note: Here is a video on how to clean fava beans.

No comments:

Post a Comment