I’m sure everyone gets asked what their favorite movie is pretty often. And for most people, the answer is usually pretty simple. But for me, being both the indecisive and utterly strange person that I am, have to reply with “it’s a tie.” And if you weren’t satisfied with that answer, allow me to elaborate. But first, I ask that you reserve your judgment and focus on the delicious recipe that I have shared with you today. Okay, here goes. It’s a tie between The Silence of the Lambs and Mamma Mia… Give me a chance to explain. I’ll start with Mamma Mia. Some call it a guilty pleasure, I call it awesome. ABBA rocks, and the fact that they were able to make a movie out of their songs is amazing. If you are not willing to admit that to the world, then I pity you. This movie is such a feel-good film, and it just makes you want to get up and sing and dance. Let’s admit it, everyone needs that every once in a while.
Now, for The Silence of the Lambs. First of all, it’s not weird because serial killers are totally in right now, if you haven’t noticed. Have you been watching The Following and Hannibal? Because I have, and they are creepy as hell. Nevertheless, I could watch The Silence of the Lambs every day for the rest of my life, because I have already watched it so many times that, at this point, it is more funny to me than creepy. I, being a food lover, smile every time Hannibal Lecter says “I ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti.” I’m telling you, if I ever own a restaurant, there will be a dish on my menu that pairs some kind of (animal) liver with fava beans. Wine suggestion: Chianti, of course. So, anytime I cook with fava beans, I can’t help but worry that I will be waking up in a cold sweat that night. In honor of one of my all-time favorite movies, I present to you this Rigatoni with Fava Beans and Pecorino. Fresh spring fava beans are tossed into a simple pasta dish with salty pecorino cheese, fresh basil, and toasted pine nuts. I’m not guaranteeing Dr. Lecter would enjoy this dish, but I get the feeling Harry Headbanger would. If you don’t get that reference, I urge you to put Mamma Mia at the top of your Netflix queue.
- 2 cups shelled fresh fava beans
- 1 pound rigatoni pasta
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, thinly sliced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- ¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- Kosher salt
- Freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- ¼ cup pine nuts, toasted
- 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
- ¼ cup chopped basil leaves
- Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the fava beans and cook for 2 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the beans to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process. Bring the water back to a boil and add the pasta. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente. Drain the pasta and reserve the cooking liquid.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Add the oregano, red pepper flakes, and ¾ cup of the reserved pasta water and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Cook for about 2 minutes, until the water is evaporated. Add the cooked pasta and fava beans to the pan and toss to combine. Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, pine nuts, cheese, and basil.
Fun fact: this dish is completely vegetarian, despite its inspiration.