This spring I joined community supported agriculture (CSA) by purchasing a share from one of Whidbey Island’s finest farms. Each week, I head to Rosehip Farm stand to see the bounty that awaits! Being a part of CSA has presented me with some wonderful, fresh veggies over the past several weeks. I absolutely love eating in season, supporting local farms, and receiving and preparing the most freshest veggies I can get my hands on. It’s a fun way too, to learn about new vegetables and how to prepare them.
I haven’t always been so amicable to trying new things. Especially when I don’t recognize a vegetable, let alone how to prepare it. It feels good to step outside of my proverbial vegetable box! Preparing this Peppered Capellini with Fava Beans, Peas and Pecorino has enabled me to do just that!
In the past, I’ve gone to the farmers market, every Saturday morning, religiously; I can enjoy the bounty, on my terms. But this season, I wanted a new challenge. Improving my skills in the kitchen, stepping outside of my box for the fun of it and discovering new (new to me) veggies has great benefits.
My CSA share broadens the variety of vegetables me and my family consume, it widens my palette for foods I probably would have not tried otherwise, and it allows me to focus more on seasonal eating.
When fava beans appeared as a part of my share at Rosehip Farm, I was a bit intimidated. I had heard that these take too much time to prepare. But I also read that fava beans are nutrition powerhouses and they taste divine. So I dove right in, excited and, uh, apprehensive.
And yes, they take a bit of commitment to prepare, but most of this recipe comes together pretty quick. The majority of the time for prep work comes in the form of removing the fava bean from the pod, then, blanching the beans and finally, peeling the beans.
Fava beans are almost ethereal. The pod is beautiful inside and out with a soft, velvety interior for the beans to grow and develop. Individual beans are encased with a protective coat that is removed after blanching. Then, the bright green beans are ready to be enjoyed.
Processing the beans is a labor of love, but I found, are well worth the effort. The beans are buttery, delicate and have a creamy yet toothsome texture. They have a short growing season here in the states, from March – July, depending on location, so if you see them fresh in the store, or at the farmer’s market, grab them up! They won’t last long.
If you’re on Whidbey Island, stop by Rosehip to check out their farm stand. You’ll find a cooler stocked with their most recent harvests from late spring to early fall. During the summer, flower bouquets are offered and if you get there early enough, they sometimes have the most delightful organic eggs with the brightest golden yolks, laid by a carefully tended flock.
What ‘new’ veggies have you discovered this season?
Join the conversation by leaving a comment below.
Peppered Capellini with Fava Beans, Peas and Pecorino
- 2/3 C English Peas frozen
- 1 1/2 lb Fava Bean Pods about 3/4 C peeled favas
- 1/2 lb Capellini
- 1 Tbs Olive Oil
- 2 Tbs Butter unsalted, divided
- 3/4 Tbs Black Pepper coarsely ground
- 1 1/2 tsp Garlic minced
- 1/3 C Pecorino shredded, plus a bit extra for serving
- 1/2 C Parmesan grated
- 1 C Pasta Water reserved
- 1 Lemon zested
- 1/4 tsp Sea Salt
- 4-5 Leaves Parsley chopped for garnish
- Fresh Ground Pepper for serving
- In a medium sauce pan, fill about 1/3 full with water. Put on stove to boil. Have ready a large bowl and mesh strainer.
- Shuck all the fava beans out of the pods and place the beans in a bowl. Set aside. Measure out your peas. Set aside. Make an ice bath in the large bowl. Be sure the mesh strainer can fit in the large bowl and the ice water flows into the strainer.
- Place the peas in the boiling water. Blanch for 30 seconds. Remove with a hand held strainer and place in the mesh strainer that is in the water bath. Let set for 1 minute, then remove the peas from the bath, using the strainer and place into a bowl. Set aside. Do the same thing with the fava beans, but let the fava beans blanch for 3 minutues (use the same water you blanched the peas in). Remove the favas with a hand held strainer and place in the mesh strainer that is in the water bath. Let set for 1 minute, then remove the favas from the bath using the strainer and place into a bowl. Set aside. Once cooled, peel the seed coat away from the fava beans. Discard the peels.
- In a medium sauce pan, fill water 2/3 full. Bring to a boil. Cook the capellini for about 4 minutes, or until al dente'. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water. Drain pasta, drizzle 1 Tbs of olive oil on pasta to keep it from sticking.
- Meanwhile, melt 1Tbs butter in a large saute' pan over medium heat. Once melted, add the pepper and garlic. Saute' for about 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add 1/4 C of the reserved pasta water. It will fizzle and bubble here so be careful. Stir to combine the pasta water, butter, pepper and garlic. Add the remaining 1 Tbs of butter and incorporate. Add the pasta, stir to coat with the sauce. Add both cheeses and stir until melted. Season with salt and add the lemon zest. Toss again. Add the peas and peeled fava beans, tossing and turning the ingredients gently to evenly distribute. Add another 1/4 cup to 3/4 C of the pasta water if the pasta seems dry. Toss well.
- Transfer to a large serving bowl and garnish with chopped parsley, pecorino and fresh ground pepper.
Recipe adapted from The New York Times.
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