Cacio e Pepe with Fava Beans
- 1 pound fava bean pods shucked (about 1/2 cup peeled favas)
- 1/2 pound spaghetti or linguine
- 2 tbsp unsalted butter or salted; just make sure to taste before salting at the end
- 1/2 tbsp very coarsely ground black pepper
- 1 cup Parmigiano Reggiano or Royer Mountain grated
- Coarse kosher sea salt to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil for serving
- Herbs like chives or parsley for garnish if you like
Shuck the fava beans by bending the top of the pod and "unzipping" it.
Bring a medium saucepan of lightly salted water to a boil. In the meantime, prepare an icebath.
Blanch the shucked fava beans for about a minute, then strain and plunge into the icebath. Let sit for a few minutes to cool. Once beans are cooled strain again, then slip them individually out of their waxy skins. This is where the bulk of the prep time comes in.
Bring a large pot of heavily salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook until 1 minute shy of al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking water.
In a large skillet, melt 1/2 tbsp butter. Add black pepper and sauté for 1 minute, or until fragrant. Add 1/4 cup of the cooking water and the remaining butter to pan. Stir until butter is melted and sauce begins to thicken, about 30 seconds.
Add cooked pasta and 1/2 cup of the cheese and toss until cheese melts, about 30 seconds. Add fava beans. Toss very well to coat, adding more pasta water if pan seems dry. Season with salt to taste. To serve, sprinkle each portion with more cheese and drizzle with olive oil. Garnish with herbs if desired.
Adapted from New York Times Cooking