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.
Cooking Light APRIL 2006
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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