Wednesday, June 8, 2011

What's for Dinner Wednesday - Green Risotto with Fava Beans

Hello food-loving friends!
It's been too long, I apologise for my Wednesday absences of late, but I am back. Life is slowing down to a less frantic pace, we are home from vacation and I have the opportunity to be back in my lovely little kitchen and have a pile of yummy recipes all ready to try out now the summer has finally arrived in the PNW. And so without further ado, here's the treat for this week...Green Risotto with Fava Beans.

As I have mentioned before we get a produce delivery every other week from Full Circle Farm. It is delicious organic produce, mainly locally grown but with a few things shipped in from other growers too. I mention this again because every week we get a email with a list of the contents for our approval (and the option to change things in and out) and almost every week something on the list is an ingredient I haven't used before. I used to be intimidated by cooking with new produce, but I have forced myself to use the wisdom of the internet to find 'how to's" and recipes that can expand my fruit and vegetable horizons!

This week the item on the delivery list which was a newbie were Fava Beans. I wasn't even sure what they looked like, but hey, I was ready for a new adventure! I discovered that Fava Beans are quite fiddly to prepare but they are tasty and if you are a fan of legumes you would not be sad about trying these. From the recipes I had found whist trawling the internet, the beans often seem to be served as a side, simply cooked in butter and garlic. That would have been an option, but I was looking for something a little different and then PING! This recipe appeared in my search and I was sold.

Something simple and tasty. Risotto, served with a simple side salad would be a perfect midweek meal.

This is what the beans looked like when they arrived.

So I set to work. The Fava beans had to be taken out of the pods, boiled and then squeezed out of their inner casing. All a little time consuming. They tasted good but they are probably not something I would chose to mess with on a regular occasion.

The other thing about making a good risotto, according to 'risotto legend' is to stir it constantly while you are adding in the liquid. In the case of this particular recipe this meant I was standing over a hot burner stirring for about 40 minutes - and will mean that my right arm will be sleeping particularly soundly tonight!

For a simple looking recipe, this took about an hour and a half from start to plate just to give you fair warning, but the end result was really tasty.

1/2 lb fresh unshelled Fava Beans
4 Cups Chicken Broth
2 Tbsp Butter, divided
1 Small onion, finely chopped
1 Cup of rice (I used brown)
1/4 C white wine
1/4 C grated Reggiano Parmesan cheese
Salt to taste

1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Meanwhile, shell the favas and discard the pods. Boil the favas for 4 minutes, strain and then immediately plunge into ice water. Let cool for 2 minutes then pierce the favas and squeeze them out of their skins. Separate 3/4 of the favas and puree in a food processor.

2. In a separate large saucepan bring the broth to a simmer, and keep it hot. Meanwhile, in another large saucepan over medium heat, melt 1.5 tablespoons of the butter and add the onions. Reduce the heat to low and cook for about 5 minutes; do not brown the onions. Add the rice and cook, while stirring, for 2 minutes. Add the wine, increase the heat to medium, and stir constantly. When the wine has been absorbed, add a little of the hot stock. Once the stock is absorbed, add a little more; repeat this process, stirring constantly, until the rice is cooked through.

3. To the cooked rice add the pureed favas, the remaining 1.5 tablespoons of butter, the rest of the favas and the cheese. Cook over medium heat, stirring, until the butter and cheese melt and the puree is incorporated evenly. Season with salt.

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