Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Monday: A New Twist on the Boiled Dinner

Technically, New York is not in New England. But that doesn't mean we don't enjoy the boiled dinner every now and again. Particularly when it's too hot to turn on the oven, but just cool enough to stand in front of the stove for 12 minutes or so. And particularly when you're boiling pasta, shrimp and fava beans instead of meat and potatoes. I've apparently led a sheltered life since the first time I had fresh fava beans was a few months ago while on vacation. Ever since then, I've been looking for them in the market. Fava beans are supposed to be spring vegetables, and given the cool and wet summer we've been having, I guess it's no surprise that I just found them. Some people complain that prepping the beans is a lot of work. It is a multi-step process: 1. First, split the velvety pods to unearth the beans 2. Then, sort the beans by size (small, medium, large) to help facilitate even cooking 3. Next, throw the beans in boiling water (first the large ones, then, after about 30 seconds, the medium beans, and then the little guys) 4. Drain the beans and shock them in some ice water to stop the cooking process 5. Finally, pinch off the outer membrane using your thumb nail to uncover the bright green prize inside Unless you're cooking for a crowd and have a mound of beans to get through, it actually doesn't take too long. Especially if you fish the beans out using a skimmer/strainer, and bring the water back up to a boil to cook your pasta, and then repeat the process to cook the shrimp. Finished with some olive oil (or in the case of last night, sundried tomato bruschetta), a little crumbled goat cheese and mint and voila, dinner is served in far less time than it would take for pizza delivery.
Fava and Shrimp Pasta for One
I used Lemon Pepper Pappardelle from Trader Joes, but if you want to use plain pappardelle or another pasta, consider adding a bit of lemon zest to the recipe. The shrimp, goat cheese and bruschetta were from TJs as well, but the fava beans and mint were direct from the greenmarket.
2 oz. Uncooked pasta
8 oz. Fava bean pods (or 3/4 c. of beans)
8 large raw shrimp, defrosted
1 t. Olive oil or 1 T. tomato bruschetta
1 T. Goat cheese crumbles
1 t. Spearmint, chiffonade
Bring a small pot of water to a boil.
Separate fava beans from pods, sorting by size.
Add large beans to boiling water, followed by medium and small beans. Cook for a minute or so before removing from pot with a skimmer and shocking in ice water.
Bring the water back to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions.
While pasta is cooking, remove outer membrane from fava beans and place bright green beans into a medium sized bowl.
Using tongs, remove cooked pasta from water, drain well and toss with fava beans, oil or bruschetta and goat cheese.
Bring the water back to a boil and cook shrimp for two minutes.
Toss warm cooked shrimp with pasta/fava mixture, sprinkle mint on top before serving.

1 comment:

kelly said...

that sounds super tasty!