Joining Community Supported Agriculture
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.
Discovering a New Bean
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.
Visit a Local Farmers Market
Farmers markets are bustling through the growing season. Why not check out one closest to you? There are many veggies to explore. Who knows, maybe you’ll find a new one to love!
To find your local farmers market, be sure to check out LocalHarvest.org.
What ‘new’ veggies have you discovered this season?
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.
Olivia - Primavera Kitchen
Gorgeous pictures! Love beans in my pasta ;-)
Aw, thank you! Oh yeah, and fava beans are so buttery. A delicious addition to an already rich pasta!
What an absolutely gorgeous recipe! Nothing gets me more excited than using produce that I’ve never cooked with before! I haven’t tried fresh fava beans before because I’ve been intimidated -but you make them sound so dreamy, and lovely to work with that I really need to pick some up. And I can never get enough pasta. Love the delicate noodle you’ve used here to let the fresh veggies shine. Perfection, Traci!
Oh, Allison, you must try fava beans! I know you would appreciate them and create something fabulous! I am thinking too, that they would pair well with spiralized zucchini (the spiralizer just arrived!) and fresh herbs with a light dressing. I have a feeling they’ll be more in my CSA share this week!! : )
Gorgeous photos and oh my goodness — this looks fantastic!
Hi Rachel! Thank you and thanks for stopping by!
Jess @ whatjessicabakednext
This looks amazing!
Hi Jess, Thank you! It tastes as good as it looks. I hope you enjoy the recipe!
Hi Traci – I love the idea of challenging yourself with the CSA delivery. I don’t think I would ever buy fava beans but if they are in the CSA box you need to get creative. It’s sort like a mystery box of vegetables – you never know what you’ll get. Your recipe (and photos) looks so fresh and inviting – the perfect meal for a summer afternoon on the deck!
A mystery indeed! I wouldn’t have ever considered fava beans. But I am grateful that they found their way into my fridge, for sure! Who knew?
Medha @ Whisk & Shout
These pictures are gorgeous. Love this fresh, healthy pasta!
Why, thank you! The peas and fava beans are a stunning green, and blanching them really brings out their vibrant color!
What a perfect balance of light and rich – such a difficult combo to marry. The hubs and I have been debating a CSA for a while, but are always a little worried that the two of us would not be able to eat the produce quickly enough. Do you have any strategies for not letting the produce go to waste?
My husband and I have talked about our concerns for waste before too. But this year we decided to dive right in. We just weren’t going to know if CSA would work for us unless we tried it. Some CSA programs offer a 1/2 share. That may be a good starting place for you two. I know folks who split whole shares too. When I get my share, what I typically do is quickly investigate anything I know little about or am not sure what to do with. I look for recipe ideas that utilize multiple ingredients from my share. Then I get to work. We drink a lot of green smoothies, so if a green is starting to wain in the fridge, or I am not sure exactly what to do with it yet, it gets added to our morning’s green smoothie. Chances are, that particular veggie will show up again and I’ll have figured out what to do with it by the following week. It’s really a lot of fun and has pushed me to try new foods and get creative!