I found this recipe for pasta with fava beans, red bell pepper, and bacon at Blue Kitchen, which is written by a fellow Chicagoan, while searching for ways to use fava beans. This dish marries the herbal notes of the fava beans with bacon fat (always a winner in my book) and the zing of lemon. It's a delicious dish that feels light but also filling.
The hardest part about this recipe is peeling the fava beans. They not only have a hard outer shell, which must be meticulously removed by hand, but also a second shell that is even harder to remove. Though a little time consuming, the process of removing the shells is rather easy, and if you have fava beans as delicious as the ones I picked up at the market, it will be worth every second. Check out Blue Kitchen for a great guide to shelling fava beans.
- 4 strips bacon, chopped into 1/2 inch pieces
- 1/2 red pepper, seeded and chopped
- 1 medium onion, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup of shelled fava bean (from approximately 1 pound of unshelled)
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon
- 1/2 pound pasta, any long kind will do, fettucini or spaghetti
In a large skillet over medium heat, add the chopped bacon and cook until the fat has rendered and it begins to crisp. Remove to a paper towel. Add the chopped onion and red pepper. Cook for 5 minutes, or until the vegetables soften.
Toss in the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the fava beans and the crisped bacon and cook until warmed, about another minute or so. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and zest.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta according directions. When done, transfer to skillet. Mix until thoroughly combined and add more pasta water if it looks dry. Season with salt and grate some Parmesan on top.