So, after all the fava bean buzz around SoCal farmer's markets, I gave them a try. They truly are a rare mid-spring treat. Hurry and give them a try before they go out of season! This recipe was a delicious, authentically Italian dish for enjoying them. Very simple too. The key is fresh ingredients, they hold their own class of flavor without much needed help.
I served them over just a very small portion of fresh linguine sprinkled with olive oil and pepper (add more olive oil over dish if seems too dry). Warm, crusty, multi-grain bread dipped in cold pressed, extra virgin olive oil made for a tasty side along with lemon roasted whole artichokes. Artichokes are also in season and accented the fava dish very nicely.
Fava Beans, Roman Style
Pancetta, one half-inch thick slice
3 pounds unshelled young fresh fava beans
2 tablespoons grape seed oil
2 tablespoons onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup water
Black pepper, freshly ground
1. Unroll the pancetta and cut it into stripes 1⁄4 inch wide
2. Shell the beans and wash in cold water.
3. Cook the onion in the oil until it becomes translucent, then add the pancetta strips and cook for 2 to 3 more minutes. Stir in beans and pepper. Add water and simmer, covered, on low heat for 8 to 10 minutes if the beans are young and tender, or up to 15 minutes if the beans are larger and tougher. Add extra tablespoons of water if necessary. When the beans are tender, add salt, and cook for a few more minutes uncovered until the last of the water has evaporated.
Source: Adapted from Essentials of Classic Italian Cooking, by Marcella Hazan