Pasta with Fava Leaf Pesto, Peas, and Potatoes

Source: Jennifer Knapp, Jennifer Knapp Catering

Recipe Type: | Seasons:

This recipe was demonstrated for CUESA’s Market to Table program on April 26, 2014.

Serves 8-10


1 pound tiny new potatoes (the smaller, the better)
2 cups shucked English peas
1 pound good quality dried orechiette or penne pasta
4 cups fava leaves, tightly packed
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
1 to 2 bulbs green garlic, sliced thinly
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, plus more for garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1½ cups good quality extra-virgin olive oil (such as Bariani or Sciabica)

1.    Place the potatoes in a pot of heavily salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a knife, but not mushy, about 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2.    Bring the water back to a boil. Add the peas and cook until crisp-tender, about 1 to 2 minutes. Remove from the water with a slotted spoon and immediately place in a bowl of ice water to shock the peas and set their color. Drain them and set aside.

3.    Bring the water back to a boil. Add the pasta and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until al dente. Scoop out about a cup of the cooking water and set it aside. Drain the pasta. Set the pot aside (do not wash it yet).

4.    Meanwhile, make the pesto: combine the fava leaves, pine nuts, green garlic, lemon zest, lemon juice, ¾ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, and salt and pepper in the bowl of a food processor. With the motor running, drizzle in the olive oil until the mixture is puréed. You may need to turn the processor off and scrape the sides of the bowl down once or twice in order to purée everything evenly. Taste and adjust the seasoning.

5.    Toss the pasta with the pesto, peas, and potatoes in the now-empty pot, adding a little of the reserved cooking water to thin out the pesto and lend a creamy consistency to the dish. Taste and adjust the seasoning; you may need to add more lemon juice, salt, and/or pepper.

6.    Transfer to a large serving bowl and garnish with additional Parmigiano-Reggiano if desired. Serve immediately.

Photo by Jacob Bindman.

Farmers Market Ingredients