Tag Archives: mint

Pasta with corn & mint

3 Aug

IMG_7872.jpeg

This was not a planned blog event. I was just throwing something together on the fly last evening, with no intention of sharing a “recipe.”

Thing is, fresh corn and mint from the garden make a really nice combination. I’m wagering that even an ill-planned post such as this might at least provide some inspiration before summer’s end.

IMG_7864.jpeg

Basically what we have here is an ear’s worth of fresh corn (blanched and then shaved off the cobb), a handful of fresh mint, a couple garlic scapes (a clove or two will do just fine), a chopped hot pepper, and a couple anchovy filets (optional, of course). Saute for a few minutes while your pasta is cooking.

IMG_7866.jpeg

When the pasta is al dente turn up the heat in the pan to high and add the pasta.

IMG_7869.jpeg

Then add some of the (well-salted) pasta water, cook it off until almost (but not entirely) evaporated, and you’re all set.

My guess is that I’ll be throwing this one together a couple more times before fresh corn season is over.

Pasta with fava beans & mint

26 Jun

I can’t look at a fresh fava bean without thinking of an old Japanese man, a round piece of cheese, and a long ago flight from JFK to O’Hare.

Stick with me here. It’ll all make sense in a minute.

See, I was sitting in my usual aisle seat in a three-across setup. The center seat was unoccupied and at the window was the elderly man that I just mentioned. One of the items on the meal tray (remember those?) was a little round cheese snack wrapped in red wax. You know the type, I’m sure.

Evidently, my traveling companion did not. Through the corner of my eye I watched as the man picked up the cheese. He ran his fingers over the shiny red wax, tapped at it a couple of times and then quickly popped the whole thing into his mouth and began to chew.

And chew.

And chew.

I didn’t have the heart to risk having the old man see me unwrap the cheese and eat it the proper way. Why embarrass the guy? And so when the flight attendant came to collect our emptied trays my wax-encased cheese snack was still on it, untouched.

Which is to say that fresh fava beans must first be unwrapped before you make this pretty swell pasta dish with them.

Hey, I’m just trying to help.

This is around two pounds of fresh favas.

When you open the pod this is what you’ll find. Just pop all the beans out and toss the pods.

Rinse the beans in cold water.

Blanch them in well-salted water for a minute. Make sure not to toss the water because you are planning to cook the pasta in it. You are planning on doing that, right?

Using a slotted spoon remove the beans from the boiling water and toss them into an ice bath. This will prevent the favas from becoming overcooked and mushy, which can happen pretty quickly.

What you need to do now is pop the edible bean out from inside the shell, like so.

Just in case you haven’t seen it before, this is what we’re dealing with. The bright green bean on the left is the edible fava; on the right is a bean that’s still in its outer shell.

What I wound up with is around a cup’s worth of cooked favas.

In a large pan saute one large shallot, four or five garlic cloves and some hot pepper in olive oil until softened but not browned.

Add the beans, a dozen or so chopped mint leaves and the zest of one small lemon. Stir and saute for a minute.

Then just stir in your pasta (a half pound here), some pasta water to moisten things (a half cup or so), and maybe 3/4 cup of grated Parmigiano-Reggiano.

And that is that.

Ready to serve. And no unnecessary chewing.