The delicate nature of fava beans requires a simple clean accompaniment. I chose a classic white risotto. Please note that the young fava beans are easy to over cook. So this risotto brings the fresh beans forward as a puree. This gives the cook a lot of control because the beans may be barely cooked then stirred into risotto at the table at the last moment.
- 4¼ cup broth
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 6 tablespoon unsalted butter
- 1 onion, finely chopped
- 4 clove garlic cloves, peeled and minced
- 3 stalks celery, cut in ¼” dice
- 2 cup aborio rice
- 2 cup dry white wine
- sea salt or kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- ½ cup plus 2 tablespoons, very good olive oil
- 1 cup fava beans, out of the pod
- 1 teaspoon thyme leaves, finely chopped
- ½ cup loosely packed italian parsley, leaves only
- ½ cup pecorino romano, grated, plus more for garnish
Bring the 4 cups of chicken broth to a simmer.
Put the 2 T olive oil and 1 T butter into a separate slope-sided pan, add the onion, garlic, and celery, and cook very slowly over medium heat for about 15 minutes without coloring. When the vegetables have softened, add the rice and turn up the heat to medium-high.
The rice will now begin to lightly fry, so keep stirring it. After a minute it will look slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring.
Once the wine has cooked into the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a pinch of salt. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn’t cook too quickly on the outside. Keep adding ladle fulls of stock, stirring as you go, allowing each ladle full to be absorbed before adding the next. This will take around 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and add 4 T butter and ½ C Pecorino Romano. Stir well. Place a lid on the pan and allow to sit for 2 minutes. This will keep it from getting overcooked and allow it to get creamy.
Fava Bean Puree
Place the fava beans in a heat proof bowl. Pour enough boiling water over the beans to cover by about 1‑inch. Let the beans sit undisturbed until the water has cooled enough so as to handle the beans.
Start peeling the beans by using your thumbnail to nick a slit in the skin. Squeeze slightly, and the inner bean will pop right out. If possible start with the smaller beans working to the largest beans.
Heat the 2 tablespoons of very good olive oil in a small saute pan over medium-high heat. Add the garlic and cook, stirring often until just beginning to brown.
Scrape the garlic and it’s oil into a food processor and add the fava beans, the remaining ½ cup of very good olive oil, salt and pepper, parsley, and the thyme. Pulse the mixture 5 or 6 times to get a rough puree. Add the chicken stock and blend a few seconds until somewhat smooth. Leave a little texture if possible. The puree will keep for 1 week covered in your refrigerator.
Spoon the warm risotto into 4 serving bowls and top each with an even amount of fava bean puree. Serve each with some of the remaining Pecorino Romano.