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asparagus and fava beans with fettuccine

Posted Jun 05 2009 5:07pm

I have not followed through on my promise to be a more diligent food blogger, and for that I apologize. I am still working so much and just not getting the kind of time in the kitchen that I would like.

This week, Jeremy was offered a job at the Waldorf school in Mendocino County, CA, so we're very excited to be making that move this summer. And at that time, we've decided, I am going to commit myself to finishing school and starting my business rather than looking for a job right away. So I'll have more time to cook! And, living in California, I am sure to have lots of inspiration for wonderful new dishes.

Right now, I am making lots of spring-themed meals. I love any excuse to eat asparagus, which is one of my favorite foods. Fava beans are often one of the first treats in a seasonal market. If you look at shelled fava beans, their shape resembles the male testes. Fava beans are large, kidney-shaped and laced with veins. Interestingly, they have been used in many traditional cultures to boost male virility and tone the reproductive system. Those old grandfathers were on to something, as we now know that fava beans contain beta sitosterol, which is very important for prostate function. (Avocados are another excellent source of beta sitosterol.)

I made this dish with gluten-free pasta, and promptly announced my dislike of gluten-free pasta. Brown rice macaroni is about all I can stand to eat; any long pasta is just unacceptable. I haven't tried quinoa pasta yet; maybe I'll like that better. But for now, I think I'll simply focus on non-pasta dishes. I'm accepting of recreations of old dishes tasting very different from a glutenous product. It's not simple disappointment that GF pasta doesn't taste like wheat pasta. It's the flavor and consistency of the GF pasta itself that I can't abide.

But this tasted wonderful anyway.

1 lb. GF or whole-grain fettuccine

1/2 red onion, sliced thickly
5 garlic cloves, minced
1 bunch asparagus, sliced into 1" lengths, woody ends removed
1/2 c. vegetable broth
2 T. white wine

1 1/2 c. fava beans
4 oz. smoky tempeh, to garnish
fresh thyme or parsley, chopped, to garnish

1. Heat 1 T. oil and 1 T. water in a large saucepan. Add the onion and cook it over medium-low heat, stirring often, for about 10 minutes. The onion should be very soft but still colorful. Add the garlic for the last 3 minutes of cooking.

2. Put the pasta on to cook, according to package instructions.

3. Add the asparagus, wine and vegetable broth. Increase the heat to medium, cover the pan, and simmer the asparagus for about 10 minutes, until it's cooked through but still has bite.

4. Stir in the fava beans and cook through.

5. To serve, place a portion of pasta on a plate and ladle the beans and asparagus over the top. Garnish with thyme or parsley and season to taste with salt and pepper.
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