No matter what industry you're in, you might agree that simplicity can lead to greatness. Unfortunately, sometimes to create something simple involves a lot of behind-the-scenes work. (And perhaps only the creator would know how much work it took to make it look that "simple".) Last night, however, I made something that was actually very simple and it didn't take a lot of work....how's that for great?!
This dish was put together in about 30 minutes or less, with about 6 key ingredients. And I must say that it was satisfying beyond description. It's loaded with spring freshness, if only because of the fava beans and peas. These little guys count for everything in this dish! A twist of lemon adds a nice zing. Freshly chopped tarragon and cilantro add another dimension of zing. The "sauce" is made with a splash of chicken or vegetable stock, a pat of salted butter, a sprinkle of parmesan cheese, and a pinch of piment d'espelette (red pepper from the southwest of France/northwest of Spain). C'est tout! (That's it!) What a way to highlight the freshness of fava beans & peas.
Ingredients (6 people)
capellini pasta for 6
fava beans, 2 kg (~ 4.5 lbs), unshelled
green peas, 1.4 kg (~ 3 lbs), unshelled shell, or a couple of cups of frozen peas
tarragon, fresh - 1 bunch
cilantro, fresh - 1 bunch
juice from 1 lemon
chicken stock (or water)
salted butter (or regular butter)
walnut oil, or high quality olive oil (optional)
piment d'espelette or sweet/spicy paprika (to your taste)
1) Prepare the vegetables. Shell the fava beens, blanch them in boiling, salted water ~1 min. Drain, plunge into ice water to stop the cooking, and drain. Peel off the rough skin from each fava bean & set aside. Shuck the peas. Cook al dente in salted boiling water a few minutes. Drain & cold shock them (cold water) & set aside.
2) Bring water to boil. Chop herbs. Juice a lemon. Shave the parmesan cheese (if needed). Cook & drain pasta.
3) Into a saucepan, heat some stock (or use some water from the pasta cooking if you have no stock). Add some salted butter until melted. Add the cooked, hot pasta into this pan & swirl until every noodle is coated. Add the fava beans & peas. Add the lemon juice, herbs, parmesan cheese & seasonings. Swirl. Throw in some extra fresh almonds, if you have them! Add more stock or butter/water if necessary. Pour a light sprinkle of oil around. Serve immediately.