I love the detour into Italy, Alice! I’ve always wanted to visit Italy, so I will do so virtually with this pasta dish.
I found these fava beans at the farmers market. They are also known as broad beans.
I have never cooked with fava beans before, but I’ve always liked them in restaurant dishes and then I saw the most wonderful looking pasta recipe on a local Minnesota food blog RelishingIt.com. So this was just my excuse to finally try cooking with them.
So first, the fava beans need to be shelled. They grow in pods, like most beans and peas.
Then they need to be blanched – which just means that they should be dropped into a pot of boiling water for about three minutes, scooped out and then dropped into ice water.
The pale green outer skin peels right off, revealing a bright green bean.
Set them aside and begin the pasta sauce.
I browned up some spicy Italian sausage links and set them aside
Sauteed some chopped onion and garlic
Sliced up the Italian sausage and added it to the pan to brown up a bit more
Poured in the canned tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. I used a jar of tomatoes canned by my friends Dee and Bernt – they were delicious! I added some hot pepper flakes to add a little more zing! to the dish
And let it all cook down.
As the sauce was cooking, I brought a large pan of water to a boil, added some fresh fettuccini and let it boil for a few minutes. Check the package for specific cooking times, keeping in mind that fresh pasta cooks more quickly than dried pasta.
I drained the pasta and added it along with the fava beans to the sauce
Tossed and topped with some fresh grated parmesan.
I got the large shreds of cheese by using a vegetable peeler on the chunk of parmesan. Using a nice Parmigiano-Reggiano will add so much flavor to your dish, so don’t skimp on the quality of the cheese.
Serve with a nice chianti.
Alice, I like the way your mind thinks and can’t wait to see where we’re going next.
Pasta with Italian Sausage and Fava Beans
1 pound fresh or dried pasta – fettuccini, pappardelle or other wide pasta
1 pound spicy Italian sausage
1 1/2 cups shelled fava beans
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried Italian spices or oregano and basil
1 1/2 cups crushed canned tomatoes
2 tablespoons tomato paste
½ teaspoon of red pepper flakes
Cracked black pepper
Shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, for garnish
Bring a pan of water to a boil. Once it is boiling, add the shelled fava beans. Boil for two to three minutes. Remove the beans from the heat, drain and place them into a bowl of ice water. Let cool in the water for a couple of minutes. Then, remove the light green peel from the beans using your hands. The fava beans will be bright green in color. Set aside.
Bring a large pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Meanwhile, begin making the sauce. Heat a large skillet and add the Italian sausage links to it. When they are browned, remove and set aside. Add the onion and garlic to the pan with a splash of oil and continue to cook for a few minutes over medium-high heat until the onions start to become somewhat tender. Slice the sausage links and return the slices to the pan with the onions. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and spices. Cook for a few minutes until the flavors have combined a bit and the sauce has thickened. Add the fava beans and cook a few more minutes. Taste the sauce and adjust the seasonings.
Add the pasta to the pot of boiling water when the sauce is nearly done. Cook pasta until al dente, remembering that fresh pasta cooks in less time than dried pasta. Fresh pasta can be purchased in the refrigerated section of the grocery store or made at home. Reserve a bit of the pasta water, in case you need to use it to thin out your sauce. Drain pasta and combine with the sauce. Top with fresh cracked black pepper and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano