It's a recurring theme on this blog that pasta is at its best when it's simple simple simple. I don't like it drowned in sauce, in fact, I often don't want a sauce at all. Fresh ingredients, subtle flavors, and your pasta is as far away from the spaghetti and jarred sauce of your youth as you can get.
Although this sauce is as minimalist as you can get, it's not without some light labor. Fresh fava beans do require a bit more work than your average five-ingredient-or-less recipe. Step one is not unlike shelling fresh peas, but for some reason it is a little more annoying. Those pods just don't want to give their beans up so readily.
Step two is the hot tub - blanching the freshly shelled favas in lightly salted water. This recipe only required a couple of minutes of blanching, since they would see more cooking in the saute pan later. But step three is really the annoying part, because once you plunge the blanched beans into their icy bath, you have to individually de-skin them to reveal the bright green, tender bean. This took longer than I expected. I was distracted. By the time the pasta was done, I wasn't quite ready for it, but I just had to forge ahead. The good news is that it didn't seem to mess anything up. The beans went into the saute pan just seconds before the pasta, but everything cooked up just perfectly. Simple, fresh, utterly delicious, and exactly the kind of pasta I want on a warm almost-summer day. Recipe afer the jump:
BUCATINI WITH FAVA BEANS
Adapted from Serious Eats
1 pound bucatini
1 pound fava beans (weight including pods—about 15-20)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
Freshly grated Pecorino
Salt and pepper to taste
1. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. In the meantime, split the fava bean pods and remove the beans within. Prepare a bowl filled with ice water, then blanch the beans for about 2 minutes in the boiling water. Remove to the ice bath, then slip off the skins to reveal the bright green bean within.
2. Cook the bucatini in the same boiling water until 1-2 minutes before al dente.
3. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and saute the garlic until fragrant and soft. Add the fava beans and a splash of water and cook gently until the beans are tender, about 4-5 minutes depending on the size of the beans. Season with salt and pepper.
4. Add the drained pasta to the skillet along with the butter and a ladle or two of pasta water. Toss to combine, then swirl the pasta around the skillet for a few minutes until the pasta finishes cooking and a sauce has formed.
5. Remove the pasta to bowls, top with grated cheese and serve immediately. Finish with olive oil or pasta water if too dry.