Spring has officially sprung because fava beans are taking over the foodie world! But as delicious as the little green gems are they are also truly a pain in the rear to prepare. You have to shell them twice and cook them twice…who the heck has time for that?! My approach is to make one beautiful meal with them a year and enjoy them at restaurants the remainder of the season. So here it is, my one fava dish for the year and it was definitely a yummy winner. There’s something about the combination of fava, mint and lemon that really sings. Plus bacon makes everything better, right? If you’re looking for a special Spring meal give this one a try.
Fava Beans, about 3 cups shelled (fresh or frozen, you could also use green peas and save yourself some time)
Orzo Pasta, 1 1/3 cups dry
Garlic, 1 clove minced
Lemon Juice, ½ lemon (I also added the zest of half a lemon)
Parmesan Cheese, ¾ cup grated
Mint Leaves, 1 cup finely chopped
Extra-Virgin Olive Oil, 3 tablespoons
Bacon, 2-3 pieces diced (optional)
Pine Nuts, ¼ cup toasted (optional, I actually wouldn’t use them next time)
Pour boiling water over fava beans, let them stand for one minute then drain and allow to cool before popping their dull skins to reveal the bright green beans. Cook shelled fava beans in boiling salted water for 1-2 minutes, then drain. Set aside half of the fava beans whole, and mash the other half with the garlic and lemon juice.
While you are working on the fava beans, cook pasta in boiling salted water until al dente. If using bacon topping use a second pan to fry bacon and pine nuts until bacon is crispy and pine nuts are toasted, about 3-4 minutes, and move to a paper towel lined plate to drain.
Spoon out ½ cup of the pasta cooking water and reserve, before draining the pasta. Tip drained pasta back into the pot with the reserved cooking water, mashed broad beans, whole broad beans, parmesan, mint and olive oil.Toss together and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
To serve, divide between bowls and sprinkle over crispy bacon and pine nuts.