Fava beans have a short growing season. In most parts of the country they're at their peak right now. These beautiful bright green beans are a lot of work: they have to be shelled twice - once from their padded green pods, and again after swift blanching to get the tender green inner beans out of their starchy outer jackets. Their tender taste is worth it, though, and we love to find ways to put them in our spring menus.
This pasta dish shows them off, their green bright against a creamy ricotta dressing and flavorful bacon. Look for bite-sized ruffled pasta that will catch and hold the beans and sauce.
Ricotta Pasta with Fava Beans and Bacon
1 pound ballerine or campanelle pasta 1/2 pound fresh fava beans, shelled 4 strips of thick-cut bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces 1 cup ricotta 1/2 cup cream 1/2 cup Romano cheese 1/2 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg Salt and pepper, to taste
Bring a large pot of water to a boil, add salt, then the beans, and cook 3 to 5 minutes, or until tender and bright green. Drain and set aside. Fill up the pot with water again, salt and bring to a boil. Cook the pasta until done.
While the pasta is cooking, peel the beans. Peel off white skin by pinching through the skin opposite the growing tip. Press one end of the bean between two fingers to push out the small green bean inside.
Cook the bacon in a heavy saucepan until pink and cooked through. Drain the grease and return to the heat. Add the beans and saute until desired tenderness. Take off the heat and stir in the ricotta, cream, and cheese, mixing until warm. Toss with the pasta and nutmeg. Taste and and add salt and pepper to taste.