Italian food is one of those things that seems so simple on the surface – some pasta, some sauce, maybe an add-in or two – but manages to transcend way, way beyond the sum of its parts. Case in point: this recipe from Frank Castronovo and Frank Falcinelli, the chefs behind some of the best Italian food in New York.
The recipe is from their cookbook, The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual, which is full of similarly delicious options. Here's what they say abou the dish:
In the spring, right after asparagus shows up at the market, fava beans arrive – one of the first encouraging signs that the root-vegetable tyranny of New York’s winter is over and there will actually be fresh stuff around again. This pasta was born around that time a few years ago – vegetables back in season, summer looming, the need to get fit asserting itself. So it’s favas, tomato sauce (because, left to our own devices, we’d put tomato sauce in everything), and bread crumbs to finish it, to add a little textural intrigue. A perfect spring-into-summer pasta.
We say it's good year-round, so long as you can find fava beans, though you can always substitute those for whatever looks good at the grocery store or market. Peas, lima beans, or edamame would all be somewhat similar.
Frankies also recommends that you use homemade pasta and tomato sauce here – there are recipes for both in the book – which are well worth your time if you've got the inclination to prepare them ahead of time.
- Fine sea salt
- ¼ cup grapeseed oil
- 4 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
- 1 cup shucked favas (from about 3 pounds of whole beans), blanched and peeled
- 1 cup vegetable broth
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- Large pinch of red pepper flakes
- Fresh linguine
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 4 teaspoons grated Pecorino Romano
- 4 heaping teaspoons dried bread crumbs
- Freshly ground black pepper
Put a large pot of water on to boil and salt it well.
Meanwhile, heat the grapeseed oil over high heat. After a minute, add the garlic. Cook it, stirring occasionally, for a minute or two, just until it is fragrant. Add the favas and stir or toss to coat them in the oil. After 30 seconds, add the vegetable broth (carefully, in one big addition) to cool the pan down. Stir or shake the pan, then wait for the broth to come to a boil and add the tomato sauce, a teaspoon of salt, and the red pepper flakes. Drop the pasta into the boiling water to cook and add the butter to the sauce.
Drain the pasta and add it to the warm sauce. Turn off the heat and toss the pasta to coat it in the sauce. Portion the pasta among serving bowls and garnish with the olive oil, grated cheese, and bread crumbs. Offer black pepper at the table.
Easy enough, right? Give it a shot yourself – it's especially great for an at-home date night, with a couple glasses of red.