Whether you want to make it simple or add a twist with additional ingredients, fava beans and pasta make a nutritious and filling dish, suitable as a side or the main course.
- TIP: Swap the fettuccine for any long, flat pasta -- such as tagliatelle.
- Step 1: Add salt and pepper to taste, and mix well. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of the grated pecorino Romano cheese.
- Step 2: Transfer the fava beans and pasta to a serving bowl. Serve warm, and let your guests add as much extra cheese as they want to their meal. They're sure to appreciate a dish that's healthy and delicious.
- FACT: Followers of the ancient Greek philosopher Pythagoras followed a strict vegetarian diet, but they were also forbidden from eating -- or even touching -- beans.
- Step 3: Add the fettuccine, the reserved cooking water, and heavy cream to the skillet. Stir to mix the ingredients, and cook until the dish is heated throughout.
- Step 4: Add the minced garlic to the skillet, and cook another minute. Add the fava beans. Tear the escarole into bite-sized pieces and add to the skillet. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the beans are tender.
- TIP: Find the freshest fava beans in the springtime. Really fresh beans won't even need to be shelled.
- Step 5: Refill the pot with salt water, and bring to a boil. Add the fettuccine pasta, stirring frequently. Cook according to the package instructions, until the pasta is al dente -- tender but still a bit firm when you bite into it. Drain, but reserve three-quarters cup of the water from the pot.
- Step 6: Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chopped onions and pancetta, and saute for about 7 minutes or until the onions are soft and the pancetta is crispy.
- TIP: Exchange fresh basil and tomatoes for the pancetta to make this a tasty vegetarian dish.
- Step 7: Shell the fava beans and blanch them in a large pot of boiling salt water for two minutes. Drain the beans using a colander. Wait for the beans to cool, then remove the outer skins. Set the shelled beans aside.