Pesto con fave e patate
Preparation - Medium/Difficult
One of the great delights of spring is the appearance of tender fava (broad beans) in the markets - and they are becoming more readily available across the country.
The recipe if from Liguria, home of pesto sauce which is base of this delicious and satisfying dish. The potatoes and the fave contrast nicely in texture and taste with the pasta the pesto sauce.
If by chance you have some frozen pesto, use it. It will make the preparation of this dish a bit easier. We keep pesto frozen for months on end. Just make sure the container is tightly sealed and the surface of the pesto completely covered with olive oil. I have also frozen shelled, blanched fave. Drop in enough simmering water to just cover and cook for a minute. After draining the fave thoroughly, let them sit for a spell in the colander and then freeze in ziplock.
3 T pine nuts
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, peeled and cut in half
1 1/2 cup loosely packed basil leaves, washed and dried
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3 medium potatoes, such as Yukon gold, peeled and cut into 3/4 inch thick slices
1 cup fresh fava beans (1 to 1 1/2 lbs, unshelled, depending on how full the pods are)
salt & freshly ground pepper to taste
1 lb pasta - trenette, fettuccine or linguine
6 quarts water
Grind the pine nuts, and the garlic together with the cheese in food processor.
Add the basil, turn food processor back on and slowly pour the olive oil through opening in lid and process till sauce has a puree-like consistency. You can refrigerate the sauce ant this point and keep in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container for a couple of days. To seal thoroughly, drizzle just enough olive oil over the pesto sauce to cover.
Test for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
Boil potatoes until just done, about 5 minutes. Remove potato slices with a slotted spoon. Place in a warmed deep bowl large enough to hold the beans as well as the pasta. (Placing the bowl in a very low oven will keep ingredients warm). Maintain the water at a simmer and drop fava beans into it. Cook until tender; about 3 minutes.
Remove with a slotted spoon and put in bowl with the potatoes.
Bring the water back to a boil and cook the pasta.
When ready, drain, reserving 1/2 a cup of the cooking liquid.
Add the pasta to potatoes and fava beans.
Mix some of the reserved liquid in with the pesto to moisten.
Toss the potatoes, fave, pesto and pasta together.
If you would like more olive oil, add a little more as you toss the ingredients.
Serve with extra grated cheese at table for those who would like more.
Hint: If you have refrigerated or frozen the pesto sauce, have it at room temperature when you are ready to use it.