Submitted by: Glenn Silloway
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Servings: 2 max main course. Double for 4.
Melissa Clark of the NYTimes published this as an improvement on a similar dish she'd had in Italy -- except the Italians did not finish shucking the fava beans!
We always buy favas in May or June to make a pasta dish, usually one with gnocchi and sage leaves, but it is VERY fussy. So here's a slightly less fussy one that is delicious, and don't spare the oil/cheese on this one. (True, favas are inherently fussy, but it's only once or twice a year, and anyhow, they are really delicious!)
½ pound English pea pods, shucked (about 2⁄3 cup peas -- or substitute frozen, like we do)
1 ¼ pounds fava bean pods, shucked (about ½ cup peeled favas)
½ pound spaghetti
2 tablespoons butter
¼ tablespoon very coarsley ground black pepper (really, make it coarse: crush pepper corns with a glass, maybe)
1⁄3 cup shredded pecorino Romano, plus more for serving
¼ cup grated Parmesan Coarse kosher sea salt, to taste
Extra virgin olive oil, for serving
Freshly snipped chives, with some blossoms in spring, for garnish
Bring a medium saucepot of salted water to a boil. Fill a medium bowl with water and ice and set a fine mesh strainer in the bowl. (Be sure to keep ice out of strainer.) Blanch peas for 30 seconds and use a slotted spoon to transfer peas to strainer in ice bath. Let sit for 5 minutes and pull up strainer to drain peas. Repeat process with fava beans, cooking for 1 minute. (You can use same pot of boiling water that you used for peas.) When fava beans have been blanched and cooled, slip off peels.
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until 1 minute shy of al dente. Drain, reserving ¼ cup cooking water.
In a large skillet, melt 1 tablespoon butter. Add pepper and saute for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add ½ cup of the cooking water and the remaining butter to pan. Stir until butter is melted and sauce begins to thicken, about 30 seconds.
Add cooked pasta, pecorino and Parmesan and toss until cheese melts, about 30 seconds. Add peas and fava beans. Toss very well to coat, adding more pasta water if pan seems dry. Season with salt to taste. To serve, sprinkle each portion with more pecorino and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with chives.
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