Fresh young fava beans signal the beginning of spring and all its glory. For best results, add hot pasta to fava beans just as they finish cooking.
Yield: serves 4-6
- 2 lb. fresh favas
- 1⁄2 head escarole, white stems broken off and discarded
- 1⁄4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and sliced
- 4 oz. pancetta, chopped
- 1 lb. dried fettuccine
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Grated pecorino romano
- Shell favas, then blanch in boiling salted water for 2 minutes, drain, and slip off skins. (If favas are very young, as they often are in Italy, this step is not necessary.)
- Wash leaves of escarole, pat dry, and tear into large pieces.
- Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and pancetta, and cook until pancetta begins to brown, about 7 minutes.
- Meanwhile, begin cooking fettuccine in a large pot of boiling salted water. Add favas and escarole to pancetta, and cook until beans are tender, about 5 minutes.
- When pasta is al dente, drain, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Add pasta and reserved pasta water to fava mixture. Toss over heat, season with salt and pepper, and add pecorino romano.