25 April 2009

pasta with fava beans, greens, and slow-roasted fennel

pasta with fava beans, greens, and slow-roasted fennel

I'm easily distracted and always excited by new projects, so it's no wonder that I can't keep focused with my posting. I know I'm supposed to be writing about a hundred other things I've made, but it seemed like it had been a while since I've posted about real food, so here is something to prove that I actually do make more than sweets (sometimes).

Although it requires some advance planning and a bit of time (time to roast the fennel, time to prepare the beans), this recipe is exactly the type of simple dish that comes together easily, appeals to all the senses, and makes me proud to claim my Italian heritage (only 25% but, still, I'll claim it!). If you haven't tried slow roasting fennel, then you, my friend, are missing out. The fennel can be prepared in advance and stored in the fridge if you're trying to lighten your cooking load.

Pasta with Fava Beans, Greens and Slow Roasted Fennel:
1 cup dried fava beans
several large handfuls of assorted greens (I used kale and dandelion greens)
1 bulb of slow-roasted fennel (recipe below)
1 cup Lucia's Tomato Sauce (recipe coming soon), or any tomato sauce of your choice
a good wide pasta (I used a sprouted grain variety from Trader Joe's)
about 1/4 cup onion, chopped
1 or 2 cloves of garlic, minced
several drizzles of olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

Begin by preparing fava beans: soak them overnight and then blanch in boiling water for about a minute to remove the tough outer skins. Then boil for about 30 minutes or until tender. Strain and set aside.

peeled favas

Prepare pasta until cooked al dente.
Meanwhile, heat olive oil in saute pan and add onions, cooking a minute until it begins to sweat. Sprinkle with salt and add garlic, cooking for another minute. Add greens and cook until wilted (I usually cover the pan with a lid to help). Add pasta sauce and toss with pasta, beans, and fennel.

Slow Roasted Fennel:
Set the oven to 200 F. Slice a bulb of fennel and arrange on the baking sheet with a drizzle of olive oil. Place the fennel in the oven and roast for 2 hours. You can remove the fennel once it becomes soft and slightly more translucent, but I prefer my fennel browned a bit, as I think it has a more developed flavor. To brown it, you can just leave it in the oven for an extra 30 minutes or so, or turn up the temperature of the oven and watch carefully. Don't burn it!

slow-roasted fennel adds a beautiful aroma and texture