May 13, 2014

Blue Apron: Spring Minestrone

"Fava beans are one of the oldest crops known to man, with evidence of cultivation dating back to 6,000 B. C. Many Italians believe that these beans saved the population of Sicily from starvation in the Middle Ages when all other crops failed. Superstition says that if you keep a dried roasted fava bean in your pantry, there will always be food in your kitchen."

3 cloves garlic
2 stalks celery
1 bunch parsley
1 carrot
1 lemon
1 yellow onion
1/2 bunch asparagus
1/2 pound fresh fava beans
1 15-oz can diced tomatoes
1 cup vegetable broth
6 ounces ditalini pasta
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese

Makes 2 Servings
About 580 Calories Per Serving
Prepare the ingredients: Wash and dry the fresh produce. Heat a small pot of water to boiling on high. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Small dice the celery. Pick the parsley leaves off the stems. Peel and small dice the carrot and onion. Zest the lemon. Cut the lemon in half and discard the seeds. Snap off and discard the woody ends of the asparagus, cut the asparagus on an angle into 1 inch pieces. Shell the fava beans. 
Start cooking the vegetables: In a medium pot, heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil on medium until hot. Add the garlic, carrot, celery, and onion. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 3 to 5 minutes, or until softened. 
Make the soup: Stir the vegetable brouth, lemon zest, tomatoes and 3 cups of water into the vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Bring the soup to a boil on high then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer 4 to 6 minutes, or until slightly reduced in volume. 

Blanch the fava beans: While the soup simmers, add the fava beans to the small pot of boliing water and cook 1 minute. Drain thoroughly and rinse the blanched beans under cold water for 30 seconds to stop the cooking process. Using your fingertips, break off the tip of each fava bean and squeeze the bean out of the outer skin; discard the skins. set the prepared beans aside.
Add the pasta and asparagus: Add the ditalini pasta to the soup and cook 8 to 10 minutes, or until the pasta is al dente. Add the asparagus, half of the parmesan and half of the parsley. Season with salt and pepper and cook, stirring occasionally, 1 to 2 minutes, or until the asparagus is bright green and the cheese is thoroughly incorporated. Remove from heat. Stir in the juice of the lemon. 

Plate your dish: Divide your soup into bowls and top each with the peeled fava beans. Garnish with the remaining parsley and parmesan cheese. 

I really liked this recipe. I had never cooked with fava beans before so that was a new expereince. I don't particularly care for the taste of parsley so I would leave that out if I made again. What makes this feel like "spring" minestrone is the lemon but the lemon flavor was a little to strong for my palatte. I cut it by adding another cup or so of water to the pot...which in turn increased the serving size. You could also just use half a lemon. I had some toasted croutons on hand I served on the side but you could easily make your own with a baguette. With the added water I ended up getting about 4 yummy servings out of this recipe. 

Until Next Time

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