Thanks to summer weather, our fava beans came ready all at once. It was a poor man’s version of needing to spend a million bucks in one day, give or take. And this was one motherlode of a crop I knew very little about.

So there was a learning curve. First lesson: plan to spend your sweet time breaking these babies down, because there’s shucking, boiling, and peeling before you can really even contemplate what to cook.

With the beans denuded, we attempted the usual preparations. We ate the favas raw with olive oil, salt and pepper. We pureed them with rosemary and garlic. Both ways were delicious, but we still had seven pounds to go. We ate the beans whole with salmon ravioli, and they were good with the fish and chopped fennel. I froze a couple pounds of the remaining beans for a fall stew.

But the bomb was ravioli I made from leftover fava puree, if I do say so myself. We ate these guys with a creamy tarragon sauce, and then, thanks to yet more leftovers, a creamy saffron sauce with chopped basil. It was all so very Iron Chef. They’re a delicious little project when you’re off work for a month, or if you happen to employ kitchen staff. The recipe:

Recipe: Green Ravioli with Saffron Cream Sauce

1. Make fava puree: shuck, boil, and peel beans. Saute minced garlic in olive oil, sprinkle with salt, throw in chopped rosemary and fava beans and cook until soft, about 10 minutes. Whirl in a food processor until smooth, then add salt & pepper to taste.

2. Make pasta dough: in a mixing bowl, combine a cup of flour with one egg and ½ tsp salt. Knead until smooth, then roll out into sheets with your pasta maker.

3. Assemble raviolis: use one heaping teaspoon of fava puree per ravioli. Cook in boiling salted water, then drain.

4. Make saffron cream sauce: saute a scant amount of chopped garlic in vegetable oil over medium heat. As garlic is just turning golden, add ½ cup cream and a pinch of saffron, stirring periodically. Add fresh peas if you have them. Sauce is ready when cream is somewhat thickened. Pour over green raviolis and garnish with chopped basil and chives; add salt and pepper to taste. Loosely adapted from Alice Waters.

Feeds 2. Prep time: days.

Short Cut: skip steps 1-3. Add blanched young fava beans to the saffron cream sauce in step 4 and toss with cooked fettucine. Prep time: 20 minutes.

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