I’m back! It’s been a busy 6 months since I last posted. My family survived two weddings, one on each coast (one of them was mine!), and we enjoyed a food-filled Christmas and New Year. After indulging in a few too many (okay, more than just a few) desserts and rich meals over the holidays, I was craving a veggie-heavy (meat-light) dinner this weekend.
I was fixated on making pasta with a lemon cream sauce, and the following recipe is the result. The lemon sauce just barely coats the pasta, almost like Spaghetti alla Carbonara. It tastes slightly decadent, without overpowering the fava beans or the pasta itself. It’s actually more suitable for spring than winter, but with temperatures near 60 degrees this past weekend, it felt appropriate. I’ll be back to make it again when spring eventually does come around in New York!
Linguine with Lemon Cream, Fava Beans & Savoy Cabbage
Notes: I am lucky enough to live a block away from an Italian specialty grocery store that carries frozen, shelled fava beans, but if you can’t find fava beans you can always substitute them for frozen peas or asparagus. There is a scant amount of pancetta in this pasta, which can be replaced with bacon, or even omitted entirely. Additionally, the sage, basil, and parsley can be swapped out for any number of fresh herbs, but I really enjoyed this combination. Just make sure to use a light hand when it comes to the sage, as it can become overpowering. And finally, cabbage might seem odd in this recipe, but it becomes deliciously sweet after being sautéed with the shallots and cooked in white wine, broth, and cream. Try to find Savoy cabbage if possible, as it has thinner, more delicate leaves.
8 ounces dry linguine
8 ounces fresh or frozen shelled green fava beans (frozen peas can be substituted here)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
3 ounces pancetta, diced into small ¼ inch cubes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium shallot, finely diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
½ head of a medium-sized savoy cabbage, core removed and shredded
¼ cup dry white wine
1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
Zest of 1 lemon
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
4 fresh sage leaves, finely minced
1/3 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, finely minced
½ cup fresh basil leaves, finely minced
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil
- When the water boils, add the fava beans and cook until just tender. Using a slotted spoon or sieve, remove the fava beans and drain. Set aside for later. Bring the water back to a boil for the pasta.
- Place a large sauté pan over low heat. Add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive and the pancetta and cook over low to medium heat until the pancetta has rendered its fat and begins to crisp up and caramelize [make sure not to burn the pancetta, but to cook it slowly so that the fat has time to render out]
- Add one tablespoon of butter, the minced shallot and garlic, and cook for an additional 5 minutes over low heat, or until the shallot is soft and translucent.
- Add the shredded cabbage and increase the heat to medium. Sauté for 5 minutes or until the cabbage begins to wilt.
- Add the wine and reduce completely until all of the liquid has evaporated.
- Combine the cream and lemon zest in a small measuring cup or bowl and reserve.
- Add the chicken broth to the cabbage mixture and bring to a simmer. Continue to cook over medium heat for an additional 10 minutes or until the cabbage is very tender and cooked through.
- Add the cooked fava beans and cream and simmer for an additional 5 minutes, or until the sauce has reduced slightly.
- While the cream sauce is simmering, bring the pot of salted water back to a boil and add the linguine to the boiling water. Stir once to make sure that the pasta does not stick together and then cook according to the instructions on the package until al dente. Reserve a ½ cup of the pasta water and add to the vegetables and cream sauce. Season lightly with salt and freshly ground black pepper.
- Strain the pasta. Using the same pot in which you cooked the pasta, add one tablespoon of olive oil and the pasta, tossing lightly to combine.
- Pour the sauce, fresh herbs, and 1/3 cup of Parmigiano Reggiano into the pot with the linguine and toss well until combined.
- Serve immediately with extra Parmigiano Reggiano for garnish and freshly ground black pepper.