While fava beans are best, frozen lima beans or green peas can be used in a pinch. If using frozen beans or peas, just toss them into the pasta water during the last minute of cooking and drain with the pasta. If you can't find orecchiette, use seashell pasta.
2 pounds unshelled fava beans (about 1 cup shelled)
1 pound uncooked orecchiette pasta (
1 teaspoon extravirgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Mint sprigs (optional)
How to Make It
Remove beans from pods; discard pods. Cook beans in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove beans with a slotted spoon. Plunge beans into ice water; drain. Remove tough outer skins from beans; discard skins. Set beans aside.
Cook pasta according to the package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Place pasta in a large bowl; add oil and salt. Toss well.
Combine the 1 cup reserved pasta water, ricotta cheese, Parmesan cheese, chopped mint, and pepper. Add beans and cheese mixture to pasta mixture; toss to combine. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.
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I liked this dish a lot but my husband wasn't a big fan of the flavor combinations. I thought it tasted very fresh and it was very creamy even though you thin the cheese sauce a lot with water. I served roasted asparagus on the side and my husband chopped his up to add to the pasta- a good idea!
Shelling the fava beans took longer than I had planned but, overall, it was a very simple meal to make.
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