I just harvested the last of my fava beans in an effort to make way for more tomatoes in my garden. Fava beans (also called broad beans and horse or pigeon beans) aren’t actually a bean at all but a member of the pea family. Fava beans have a delicate flavor and buttery consistency which makes any dish special. I paired them with peas for two reasons. I love fava beans but I also really like green peas in risotto, plus it takes a mountain of fava bean pods to make enough fava beans. (You could also make this risotto without the fava beans and it would still be tasty). I harvested a large bowl of bean pods from my garden (about 10 or 12 cups). Favas require a double shelling process which is not hard but time consuming. How to shell fava beans. Once I removed the pods I had 2 cups which shrank to a scant 1 cup once I removed the second peel.
I usually don’t cook white rice but with risotto I had to make an exception. Arborio rice has a creamy quality that you just can’t get with brown rice, although I might give it a try next time. Luckily the fava beans, peas, pine nuts and greens add loads of nutrition to this dish. Even though it tastes and feels like comfort food this risotto is pretty healthful and low in fat. Favas are a good source of fiber, protein, folate. potassium, calcium, manganese, and phosphorus. (LiveStrong) The peas and greens add another nutritional boost. Plus I love the gorgeous green color. It tastes like Spring!
Fava and Spring Pea Risotto with Greens
- Shell fava beans. First remove the outer shell (pod). I like to slit the seam open with a sharp knife. It’s okay if you slice through the beans. It actually makes them easier to shell. Then blanch in boiling water for one minute and put immediately in an ice bath. Then remove the second shell.How to shell fava beans
- Heat a heavy pan (cast iron is great if you have it) and dry toast the pine nuts for a few minutes until they are fragrant and turning golden brown. Remove from pan and let cool.
- In a separate pan, bring broth plus one cup of water to a simmer
- In cast iron pan, add olive oil, scallions and rice and cook for a few minutes until the rice is opaque.
- Add broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring until the liquid has been absorbed. Repeat until rice is tender (about 20 minutes) Add salt and pepper to taste. (Vegetable broths greatly differ in their saltiness which is why I add salt at the end).
- Add fava beans, peas and greens and cook until the greens wilt, 4 or 5 minutes.
- Fold in pine nuts and parmesan. Risotto should be slightly soupy. Add more water if it’s too dry. Serve hot.