It’s here! Eating in instead is sportin’ a new look! The re-design process was exciting but also hard work. It is the main reason new recipe posts were slow in coming the last few weeks. I hope you enjoy the new site as much as I do and please excuse any initial glitches as I work on the finer details. I’ve also included a new “tips & clips” page where I am working on video how-tos for cooking techniques.
In the spirit of the new look and trying my hand at video, I’ve got a fresh fava bean orecchiette to share. (Apparently, fava beans are also known as broad beans?) I’ll admit that I wanted to feature this recipe not only because I made a video clip of the orecchiette, but also because the green favas go well with the site’s new color scheme 🙂 This recipe was the first time I’d ever prepared fresh fava beans and it was my first attempt and making fresh orecchiette. It’s not a beginner’s recipe and not a week night recipe either. This is a full on, spend at least half the day in the kitchen cooking (with wine) kind of recipe.
Fresh fava beans are in abundance in the spring and early summer in my part of the world, and seeing those little pods at the produce stand week after week intrigued me. Then, one week, as the produce stand owner saw me eying them, he encouraged me to purchase a kilo and give them a try. I’m glad I did, as these little green gems are delightful. That said, the beans are labor intensive to shell and the yield is somewhat disappointing for the work. I’d do it again, but only for special occasions—and when I’m in the mood to be in the kitchen for the day, always with wine. Now that Fall is upon us, you can definitely make this recipe with store bought orecchiette or substitute the fresh fava beans with frozen, shelled favas. This would save so much time, it pains me to think about it.
Before I leave you to the recipe, I have to give a shout out to Lindsey at Smitten Blog Designs who helped me with the re-design. She handled my Type A personality with grace and patience throughout the process. I asked Lindsey to share her favorite recipes with me, and she directed me to The Pioneer Woman’s creamy mashed potatoes. These look wonderful and I’ve got them on my list of Thanksgiving recipes to try in the coming weeks—I think I can even get most of the ingredients in Rabat!
FRESH FAVA BEANS WITH ORECCHIETTE
1 kg or approx. 2 pounds, fresh fava beans
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 red onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
5-6 baby zucchini sliced into thin rounds
1 large tomato, chopped
1 teaspoon oregano
1 teaspoon basil (I used dried, but if you have fresh, use it!)
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
1/4 cup white wine or chicken broth
½ cup freshly grated parmesan
¼ fresh basil, chopped
For the orecchiette (adapted from Martha Stewart)
2 cups semolina flour
1 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup water, plus more as needed
Shell the fava beans
Take the fresh fava beans, break off the string side of the pod and pull down to open the pod. Free the little beans.’
Bring a large pot of water to boil, salt the water (just like you were making pasta), and boil the beans for 1 minute. In the mean time, prepare a large bowl of ice water. After the beans have boiled for a minute, scoop them out of the boiling water and dunk the beans into the ice bath. Blanching the beans help them to stay bright and green.
After 3-5 minutes when the beans have cooled, take each of the beans and pop them out of the shell. Many recipes skip this step, but I liked removing the waxy shell to reveal that bright green bean hiding on the inside. It’s a lot of work, but they green gems pop out pretty easily. Set these little guys aside and turn to the pasta.
Make the orecchiette
In a large bowl, combine the semolina flour, all purpose flour, and salt. Make a well and pour in ½ cup of water. Combine the flour and water by stirring the edges of the well with a fork. Gradually add the remaining water a tablespoon at a time until the dough comes together. I like to start kneading the dough a few times in the bowl, then I turn it onto a floured surface to continue kneading the dough. I find that starting the kneading process in the bowl minimizes the mess when I knead it fully on the counter.
Knead the dough until it is elastic and smooth. This is going to take at least 6-7 minutes of kneading. Just when you think its ready, knead it for another minute or two. The dough should be very smooth and elastic.
Divide the dough into 16 equal pieces and keep them covered. Then, taking one piece of dough roll it into a long rope, about ½ inch/2 cm in diameter and about 18 inches long.
With a knife, cut the rope into ½ inch pieces. Then, lightly pinch the dough to create a round shape, and with the back of a small knife, drag the knife over the dough with even pressure to curl the dough. Open each piece of dough back up with your thumbs. Lightly coat the pasta with flour, and keep covered, until you have worked your way through all of the pasta dough.
After you are done shaping the pasta, have pour yourself a glass of wine. You deserve it! Bring a large pot of water to boil and salt generously.
While you are waiting for the pasta water to boil, in a large non-stick skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and sauté for 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the garlic and zucchini and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, beans, oregano, basil, and red pepper flakes, if using. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add the wine or broth. Salt and pepper the veggies to taste.
As the wine or broth reduces, your pasta water is probably close to boiling. Carefully drop the orecchiette into the boiling water. You may have to do this in 2-3 batches, keeping the water at a boil, but not an intense rolling boil. Cook the pasta for 2-4 minutes, stirring gently to prevent the pasta from sticking together. It doesn’t take long before they are al dente! They are close to ready when they float to the top.
Scoop the orecchiette out and toss them straight into the skillet with the veggies and beans. Gently toss everything together, top with some freshly grated parmesan and fresh basil and enjoy!