Spring Pasta with Fava Beans and Lemon


Among the bottles of wine and boxes of candy that came home from the office over the holidays, there was a peculiar little brown box that stood out. It was from a gourmet spice shop, and inside I found an assortment of bay leaves, dried ginger root and cinnamon sticks that were cradling three jars of seasoned salts.

It’s been winter, so there have been no heirloom tomatoes or fresh string beans worthy of any of it, but now it’s spring. There is some tiny loose leaf lettuce growing in the garden, the mint is popping up through the ground (mostly in places it really shouldn’t be popping up) and I’ve got a jar of Cyprus Citron Lemon Flake Salt that needs a proper home. Thanks to a bag of frozen shelled fava beans—I found one for it.

This pasta is so spring-like, I half expect daffodil blooms and cherry blossoms to magically appear when I set it on the table. Sure, I have a love-hate relationship with fava beans. Are they really that different from lima beans to warrant all of the pretentious buzz? I think not, but they are lovely in this dish, and when they’re frozen and shelled, they’re no more extra work than a tired old can of lima beans. And, when I run out of the Cyprus Citron Lemon Flake Salt, I’m going to add a little extra lemon juice and some sea salt and keep this pasta dish in the lineup.

makes six servings

1 lb.  small shell pasta (or similar pasta)

2 cups frozen shelled fava beans

1 cup frozen peas

1 lemon

½ teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon pepper

2 teaspoons citrus-flavored salt (if available, if not substitute Kosher salt or sea salt)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese

1 teaspoon parsley

Boil pasta for 10-15 minutes, until al dente. At the same time, simmer frozen fava beans and peas in ½ cup water until cooked. Reserve ½ cup of the pasta water, then add drained pasta to the pan with the fava beans and peas. Add enough reserved pasta water to make a sauce and toss. Grate lemon zest of ½ lemon and squeeze 1 teaspoon lemon juice over top of pasta. Season with pepper, garlic powder, and if available, citrus-flavored salt flakes (or Kosher salt/sea salt).  Sprinkle with 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons of olive oil and the parsley.

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