I don’t like the word healthy. Most of you know that. So when deciding how to title this recipe I wasn’t sure I wanted to include that exact descriptor.
Why not “healthy”? Because healthy denotes images of skinny, low fat, low cal, low sodium, low carb, low low low low low…. (you should read that part out loud and make your voice go lower as you say it… It’s more fun that way).
Like less – or low – is better, somehow.
I’ll be honest, when it comes to this exquisite fava bean pasta, less is most certainly not better. We spend a lot of our adult lives trying to attain a “better” level of pretty much everything. Which invariably, manifests as “lower”.
I know that as a woman (note: not a lady because my friends, I am no lady) I struggle each and every day to resist the cultural pressure to be less. I should – another word I hate: “should” – be a lower body weight. I should eat lower amounts of butter and put lower amounts of cream in my coffee. I should use a lower voice. I should intake a lower level of alcohol. I should do less of the things I love – mainly, drinking wine and bourbon, eating fatty, calorie rich foods, and being active in public ways – and more of the things I’m told to.
Healthy is what pits the “skinny” girls against the “real” women. Because for some reason, and totally against 98% of the images and messages we receive from the media and police ourselves (and each other ) by, if you weigh less you’re somehow not a “real” woman. But be careful because if you’re too heavy, you need to be less fat. But if you’re too light, you have to be less light and more heavy. WTF are we supposed to do with THAT one?
If I believed everything I saw on TV or in movies or feel pressured by, I would be less loud. Less proud. I’d have less goals and less success. I’d have less male friends, less choices, less adventures, less physical strength, and less colour in my hair and on my nails. Less joy, less food, and less life.
In fact, I was told once by a person close to me (who will remain nameless) that if I wanted to get married some day, I’d have to be less outgoing and less independent or no man would want to be with me… Assuming it was in fact, a man I wanted.
Essentially, I’d have to be less me.
I’m 33 and still not married. And maybe this person was right – maybe if I want that then I should drop trou and put on a skirt, metaphorically speaking. Though FYI…. I rarely do actually wear pants. I like my skirts. A lot. But if I don’t get married, that’s okay. Because as a self identified feminist, a woman who believes she can do (almost) anything she wants (provided societal structures and resources and privilege allow), a woman with a loud fucking laugh that carries through a room and who says fuck a lot….. I like me. As is. Lumps, bumps, fucks, and strength and fun and joy and all.
What does this have to do with fava bean pasta? Not a lot, actually. Except that I worried about calling it “healthy” (I worried about it too when I titled Fresh & Healthy Veggie Tacos) because of all of those reasons above rolled into one word that triggers unhealthy habits, thoughts and actions in many of us. Man or woman or transgendered…. Healthy is a scary word.
Yes. It’s “healthy” in that it’s loaded with fresh, seasonal vegetables and the pasta is from scratch so it lacks any preservatives or stabilizers or what have you. The vegetables are grown by farmers who practice organic and permaculture principals and they’re all sourced from local producers. And eating it brings me pleasure which is good for the body, mind and spirit (if you believe in that kind of thing).
But mainly, more than healthy, it’s exquisite.
Exquisite Fava Bean Pasta
Yield 4 servings
- 1.5 Lb Fava Beans
- 2 Shallots, peeled & finely chopped.
- 2 Cloves Garlic, sliced.
- 1/3 C Good Quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil.
- Pat of Butter.
- Juice of 1 Lemon.
- 1 Chili, thinly sliced.
- Handful of Shaved Parmesan Cheese.
- Coarse Sea Salt & Fresh Cracked Black Pepper.
- 2 Big Handfuls of Linguine Noodles, homemade pasta or Scratch Slow Roasted Sweet Potato Pasta to serve.
- Prepare the fava beans. This does take a bit of time but it’s very easy. Snap off the top end of the bean and gently peel off the seam (like peas). Then gently wiggle your fingers inside to open the pod. Pop out the beans and discard the shells to the compost.
- Now here’s the time consuming part: the beans are tricky and have a second shell. You’ll need to bring a large pot of water to a boil, dump the beans in, boil for about 30 seconds to loosen the second casing and then immediately drain and run cold water over the beans to stop the cooking process and maintain the brilliant green color. Now you can carefully made a tear in the outer coating near the “bum” of the bean (when you see them you’ll know what I mean) and just gently pinch the bean out of it’s casing. Tada! Bright green broad beans! Again, discard the shell. Set beautiful beans aside.
- The rest is fairly quick and straight forward. Set a large deep frying pan over medium heat and pour in the olive oil. Once hot (but not smoking), add the shallot and garlic. Soften for a couple of minutes and add the fava beans and season with salt and pepper. Stir often and cook until beans are tender, about 7 minutes, followed by the fresh lemon juice.
- As the beans cook, set a medium to large sized pot full of water over high heat and bring to a boil. As it begins to roll, add enough salt that it tastes like sea water. Chuck in the pasta, stir and cook until el dente (3 to 4 minutes for fresh pasta, 6-7 for dried). Drain, reserving some of the cooking liquid and throw the pasta in with the veggies. Mix in the pat of butter and toss to coat. If it feels very dry, add a Tbsp or 3 of the pasta water in with the mix.
- Dish up on individual plates or pour the whole lot into a giant bowl. Top with Parmesan cheese, a drizzle of really good olive oil if you have it, and serve with pepper on the side.
How do you feel about the word “healthy”? Do you ever feel the need to be “less”? How about to be “more”? Ever have the pleasure of shelling fava beans?
Other great Fava Bean Recipes: