Monday, July 5, 2010

Fava Bean Risotto w/ Garlic Scape-Mint Pesto

This past weekend afforded us our first fava harvest: the first of the season, as well as  the first ever.  I've never grown favas before, and I have to say it's been fun.  I set the seed back in February, and they are coming into their own now. These guys are planted in a side bed that only gets part sun with native clay soil to boot, and they still came through--lovely easy-going favas.

Risotto was the first thing that came to mind while picking the beans, and as garlic scapes abound at the moment, fava risotto with scape pesto seemed only natural.

Fava Risotto with Garlic-Mint Pesto

Makes 2 generous portions, double for 4-6 average servings

3/4 cup arborio rice
2 cups warm veggie broth
1/2 cup white wine
2/3 cup finely chopped onion/shallot/leek (your choice...I used a combo of onion and shallot)
2 tablespoons garlic scape pesto (jump to pesto recipe)
2 cups shelled and skinned fava beans
olive oil for saute-ing (or whatever you prefer to saute with)
salt and pepper to taste

First, blanche and de-skin the favas:

After shelling the individual beans, bring a pot of water to the boil. Meanwhile, have a large bowl of cold water floating with a tray or two of ice cubes standing by. Drop the shelled favas into the boiling water and blanche for ~ 1 minute. Drain the favas of hot water, rinse briefly in cold tap water and dump them into the bowl of cold water and ice to refresh the beans. When the beans are completely cool, drain off the cold water and de-skin should be as easy as applying pressure to one end of the bean so it pops out of the thick outer skin. Set the favas aside.

In a large pot, over medium heat,  add some olive oil and saute the onion/shallots until translucent. Add the arborio rice and give it a good stir through. Add the white wine and stir the rice as it comes to a simmer. As the liquid cooks off, add the warm veggie broth 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently until the rice has become plump and tender.

Just before serving, stir in 2 tablespoons of the garlic-mint pesto and the blanched favas. Serve with pea shoots or other garnish of choice. (Salt and pepper to taste.)

Garlic Scape-Mint Pesto

This scape pesto is very basic, so you should use any type of pesto that you like to substitute if this doesn't float your boat:

12 large garlic scapes
10 - 12  mint leaves ( or more/less to taste) I used a combo of spearmint and pineapple mint
1 tablespoon nutritional yeast
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
water/oil to blend

Mix all ingredients in a food processor...I added about 1/8 cup water to get it started, then drizzled in some olive oil. Unctuous pestos are dreamy...but keep in mind you can add more oil later...I like to make the original a bit lean and add more oil in to taste for each recipe I make with it.

large  scapes  and mint 
(I didn't use all that mint for the recipe...only about 10-12 individual leaves)

favas on the stem

Roseann LaPonte
Rosanne Tobin


  1. Looks great! I was actually planning on making some mint/basil pesto soon!

  2. This looks beautiful AND delicious!

  3. Yay for cooking your own favas. I am so jealous. ;-) Your risotto looks delicious, you know I love garlic scape pesto.

    I hope you had a great long weekend,

  4. Dining in your garden is probably better than any fine restaurant. Maybe you should open to the public?

  5. I'm impressed that you grew your own fava beans! The risotto and pesto sound delicious, though I wouldn't have thought to combine garlic and mint!

  6. That is an absolutely gorgeous dish! I have still not had favas, I don't know why. It's wonderful to eat the food you grow yourself, isn't it!

  7. Thanks Carissa,

    Mint and basil do go well together...can't wait to see your version.

    Thanks Stacy! :)

    Hi Ali,

    The favas are a fun crop. I'm sure anyone could grow them provided you have enough space. Hope you had a great a weekend too!


    Now that's an idea...but at the moment the entire menu would have to consist of fava beans, lettuce, and a few spring onions...I'd have to get pretty creative...if only, then I could quit my jobby job.

    Hi Andrea,

    I've never grown them before, but the favas were an easy crop...they basically just took care of themselves. When all the beans are harvested, I'll cut the stalks down and turn them into the soil as a green manure. Sounds like a heartless thing to do to the poor plants after they provide their lovely beans, but by that time they will naturally die back anyway.

    Hi Janet,

    I agree, it is wonderful to cook with food from the garden. You should try favas...I think they are a lot like peas or green chickpeas in terms of flavor.

  8. Just a note: the comments moderation on Blogger is glitchy today (July 6) if you've posted a comment and it doesn't publish...please know that I did try to publish it! I've been seeing many other bloggers having similar complaints today. :)

  9. Sigh...your own fava beans and scapes too. I've never even been in the same room as a scape. It's nice to see your fava experiments turned out so well, and your risotto looks delicious. Trippy photo of the favas, as well. I'll have to try that effect...ahem, that's to say I would if there were any beans around here...

  10. Well, now there's a nice idea for fava beans! Remember my attempt several weeks ago that I shared with you? This sounds like a nice subtle dish. As usual, cool shots with the cam as well.

  11. Zoa,

    Well, the scapes were from the Farmers' market, but if you grow your own hardneck garlic...scapes could be yours next summer. :) Favas turned out easy to grow, this year at least.


    I think favas lend themselves to risotto...much like peas. I hope your next attempt with favas is more to your liking! I mean, they're sort of an average vegetable...just seem special because they're not readily available in the store most of the year.

    Hope the summer is treating you both well!

  12. Absolutely beautiful on the plate and I have no doubt it tasted wonderful too.

    Fresh (and home-grown) favas or broad beans as we call them in the U.K, are so much more delicious to eat. The flavour is so different to frozen which is not so pleasant at all.

  13. Rose- I just stopped by here again, to make sure I didn't miss an update. Question: Which ingredient is stronger in this pesto The mint or the basil? I really want to make it, but I would prefer it not be super mint overpowering.

  14. Hey Carissa,

    I used about 12 mint leaves...and it was fairly minty...and I agree, mint does overpower other flavors pretty quickly in general, so maybe just add a few leaves (3-4?). I didn't use basil in this particular instance, but it would have been good instead of the mint or in addition to it. I follow you... I'm only in the mood for mint at certain times; when it sounds good, I use it; if not other herb of choice goes in.

  15. Mangocheeks,

    Hi! Somehow, you snuck in without me seeing you! Now that I've grown them myself, I agree that homegrown are more delicious and fun...:)

  16. I just used mint for the very first time last night...for a smoothie recipe. I have some leftover; maybe I'll make a pesto. I love how you eat so much green food. That's very inspiring. I mean, we eat a lot of green food, but it just looks so pretty on your blog. (Your pizza below looks yummy, too.)

  17. Hi Jenny,

    I think mint is great in can add it in with any other combo of does tend overpower other flavors, so I recommend adding in a few leaves at a time until you get the level of "mintness" you like. And, thank you for your really kind words. We try to eat lots of veggies, but we tend to eat a lot in general the veggies just come along for the ride :)

    I really like your blog too, and find it so inspiring that you are raising your kids vegan! I've linked to your blog...and have been following it for the last week or so...I'll be commenting soon!


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