Spring Minestrone

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Sorry for the lack of photos with this recipe! We got our granite cleaned yesterday and in the middle of shooting the photos for this recipe the maintenance men arrived to resurface the countertop. Lets just say I wasn't expecting them! BUT at the end of the day, I'm grateful to have them cleaned because now my kitchen counters are shiny and sparkly white! Perfect for my future recipes photos ;) 

If have been following you probably know by now that I am a big soup person!  There is something so satisfying about a good bowl of soup.  Maybe it's the fact that you are able to sneak in multiple veggies into one bowl. This soup is a take on a classic minestrone with fresh fava beans & asparagus. Because this soup is a bit lighter than a traditional minestrone I figured it would be a good dish to serve due to the crazy up and down weather we've been experiencing. 

Although these beans are sweeter than other beans, fava beans are a chore to peel -- and at first it was a bit of a mystery figuring out how to get the actual bean out of the pod.  Fava beans have to be peeled twice, which means you'll have to buy a lot more beans than you might think. One pound of un-peeled beans will give you roughly 1/3 cup of favas.

Here is a step by step guide to get the bean: 

  • First, remove the beans from the pods (much like you would when shelling peas) by running a finger up the seam of the pod, splitting it open and removing the beans. There are about 4 to 5 beans per pod.

  •  Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the fava beans to the boiling water and blanch for 1 minute.  Remove the beans from the boiling water and submerge them in ice cold water to stop the cooking process. This step softens the second skin, making it easier to remove.

  • With your fingertips, break off the tip of each fava bean and squeeze the bean out from its skin.

  • Discard the skins! 

SPRING MINESTRONE:

Serves 2 

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

  • 2 stalks celery 

  • 1 carrot, small diced
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1/2 bunch asparagus
  • 1/2 pound fresh fava beans
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 15 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 6 ounces ditalini pasta
  • 1/3 cup fresh parmesan
  • Fresh parsley and fresh basil for garnish

INSTRUCTIONS:

1.) Wash and dry the produce. Shell the fava beans, small dice your carrot and celery. Peel the onion and dice. Cut asparagus into 1 inch pieces.

2.) In a medium pot, heat, 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add sliced garlic, celery, carrot, and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook, siring frequently for about 3-5 minutes, or until softened. 

3.) Using a lemon zester or a peeler, zest about 2 teaspoons of lemon zest. Stir in vegetable broth, lemon zest, tomatoes and 1 1/2 cups of water. Bring to a boil on high and then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 4 to 6 minutes, or slightly reduced in volume. 

4.) While the soup simmers, blanch the fava beans. ( Follow steps above)

5.) Add the pasta to the soup and cook for 8-10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Add the asparagus, half the parmesan, and about 1 tablespoon fresh parsley. Season with salt and pepper if needed. Cook, stirring occasionally, until asparagus is bright green and cheese is fully incorporated. Stir in the juice of 2 lemon wedges. 

6.) Garnish your dish with peeled fava beans, fresh parsley and basil, and cheese. Enjoy! 

Recipe adapted from Blue Apron


FAVA BEAN NUTRITION PROFILE:

Fava beans, springs sweetest pleasure, are one of the oldest crops known to man, with evidence of cultivation dating back to 6,000 B.C. Like most beans, favas are packed with protein – one cup provides you with over 25 percent of your daily protein needs. The beans are also excellent sources of folate, important for the formation of red blood cells and super important for women who are pregnant or may become pregnant, because it helps in the prevention of neural tube defects in the fetus. Favas are packed with minerals too – they’re good sources of manganese, copper, zinc, prosperous, potassium, iron and calcium. They also contain levodopa (L-dopa), a chemical the body uses to produce dopamine (the neurotransmitter associated with the brain's reward and motivation system).

Superstition says that if you keep a dried, roasted fava bean in your pantry, there will always be food in your kitchen.