Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Local Fava Beans, Imported Ricotta, Homemade Tagliatelle

Earlier in the week I harvested my share of Quail Hill's bumper crop of fava beans. Then I went to Cavaniola's and bought some of the Italian ricotta cheese that arrives at the shop every Friday during the Summer. This cheese had a different flavor and texture--tangier and creamier--than the Narragansett Creamery ricotta I had been buying at Lucy's Whey. I thought it would combine well with my beans to make a simple pasta sauce for my fresh egg noodles. I made my own pasta, using an old Atlas machine that I've had since the '80s, but you could always buy some A. Sisters fresh pasta on sale at the Sag Harbor Farmers' Market every Saturday if you'd like to try this luxurious treat of a dish without going to the basement in search of your old pasta machine. Here is the recipe:

Fresh Tagliatelle with Fava Beans, Ricotta, and Basil
Serves 4

1 to 2 pounds (depending on how many you can get your hands on) fresh fava beens, shelled
1 cup best-quality fresh ricotta cheese
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves, cut into thin strips
Ground black pepper
1 pound fresh egg noodles

1. Put a couple of inches of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Add the shelled fava beans and blanch for 1 minute. Drain and run under cold water to cool them down quickly. Slip the tough outer skin from each bean and place the skinned beans in a large bowl. Add the ricotta, basil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and ground black pepper to the bowl.
2. Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Cook the egg noodles until just tender. Reserve 1 cup of the pasta water and drain the pasta. Add it to the bowl and stir to combine with the beans and cheese, adding some of the pasta water as necessary to moisten. Season with salt and pepper if desired and serve immediately.

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