Thursday, June 2, 2011

Another way to cook pasta – Pasta "risottata" with fava beans, zucchini and tomatoes

After this past few weeks, I needed to eat something to soothe my mind…Pasta especially pasta in bianco (with  parmigiano, butter and parmesan) I am not Italian, but I have a love of food and cooking ethnic food from around the world. There are indeed many ways to cook pasta, one less known method is called “risottata“, meaning like a risotto where broth is added gradually. I did not come up with it, it’s a very old Italian method of cooking pasta! so, no pasta is not always boiled in salted water, drained and served topped with sauce. There is an interesting and funny article in English about the different cooking methods and cooking time of pasta on Identità Golose.

Pasta risottata being cooked a long time, takes longer than the usual way of boiling it in water. The risottata method allows it to keep its starch, therefore develop a particular creaminess......can you just imagine the deliciousness of the pasta while having absorbed all that flavorful broth? It’s really my newest favorite way to cook and eat pasta. You need to try to believe it. For this cooking method, you need short pasta (pasta corta) such as small penne or fussilli or a small shell, or anything that size.
The recipe is quite simple, the greatness of the pasta comes first from the risottata method, then the combination of the ingredients make it a real treat.
Ingredients for 4
  • 16 oz brown rice pasta fissilli
  • 1 1/2 pounds fresh fava beans, pod removed
  • 4 zucchini, diced in small cubes
  • 1 can diced organic tomatos in rich juice
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/4 chopped red onion
  • 1 garlic clove
  • olive oil and butter
  • Parmigiano Reggiano, freshly grated
  • salt and pepper
Heat 1 T. oilive oil and 1 T. butter in a pan and add garlic, stir for a few minutes, then add zucchini, cover and let cook until the zucchini start to be cooked but firm, then add tomatoes, salt and pepper.  Set aside.
In the meantime, blanch fava bean grains in boiling water for about 2 minutes depending on the size of the grains. IF the grains are small and tender, one minute is enough. Drain and peel beans. Add to the pan with the other vegetables.
In a pot, heat olive oil, add red onion and saute. Add pasta and proceed like you would for a risotto, adding gradually broth to cook it. When the pasta has reached the desired consistency (it will need to be slightly creamy), add vegetables and parmesan. Stir well and serve hot.

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