Lemony Pasta with Fava, Dandelion and Mint

By • February 4, 2015 0 Comments

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Author Notes: This recipe, inspired by the flavors of Sicily, tastes like springtime to me. Something about the complementary flavors and contrasting textures makes it so addicting, I could eat it every day. If you can't find fresh fava beans, just substitute baby lima beans. And a "heads up:" Don't forget the parmesan slices. They're not an afterthought, but an important ingredient to round out the flavors of this dish.Kees To The Kitchen

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Serves 6

  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 1/2 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice (about 2 lemons)
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 1/4 cups good quality olive oil
  • 16 ounces tiny fresh fava beans, shelled (may substitute baby lima beans, fresh or frozen)
  • 12 ounces dandelion greens, coarse lower stems removed and leaves cut diagonally into 4 inch pieces
  • 2/3 cup fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 cup pistachios
  • Strips of fresh parmesan cheese for garnish
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Spread pistachios on a cookie sheet and cook until fragrant and lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes, Remove from oven, cool, then coarsely chop.
  3. In a food processor, mince the cloves of garlic, then add the lemon juice and salt. With the processor running, pour the olive oil into the bowl in a steady stream until all ingredients are blended.
  4. Heat two large pots with heavily salted water to boiling, one for the beans and dandelions and one for the pasta.
  5. In the first pot of boiling water, blanch favas until just tender, 4-5 minutes. (Reserve the water to cook the dandelions later.) With a slotted spoon, remove the favas, draining the beans as much as possible, and then place them in the bowl of the food processor with the olive oil mixture to let them soak up a bit of the flavors. (Don't process them.)
  6. Return the water to a boil, then add add the dandelions. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes until the stems are tender. Remove from the water, drain in a colander, then rinse with cold water to stop cooking. Gently press out the excess water from the leaves.
  7. In the second pot, cook the spaghetti according to directions, about 10 minutes. Drain well.
  8. Return the drained spaghetti to the emptied pot. Add the olive oil/fava bean mixture, lemon zest and mint to the spaghetti and toss well. Taste for seasoning.
  9. Spoon the tossed spaghetti and fava beans into 6 large bowls or plates and place the cooked dandelions on top. Sprinkle with chopped pistachios, 3-4 thin slices of fresh parmesan cheese and freshly ground pepper.

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