Thursday, May 30, 2013

Fava Bean Pesto Pasta with Chicken

All packed up for lunches!
We got fava beans in our produce bin a couple weeks ago and I had no clue how to prepare them. So I did some initial research. GreenBean Delivery shared a recipe on their blog for a Spring pasta with fava beans, which sounded great. Other options were making them into falafel, purees for side dishes, and soups. I parboiled the shelled beans I cooked them too long which made them mushy. That means I had to puree the beans. I found a recipe for Fava Bean Pesto from Cat Cora on The Food Network and decided to give it a try. I had lots of basil at home, which make it easy to make with what I had on-hand. Ava really likes spaghetti so I was hoping she would like it too. It turned out great and Aaron told me that he really liked it!

I made a few modifications to the Fava Bean Pesto recipe. Instead of using it on bread as a sandwich, I used it as a sauce for spaghetti pasta. We ended up with an easy, healthy, and affordable meal! 
  • Add pesto to 1/2 pound of spaghetti (reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water)
  • Omitted mint and added extra basil
  • Used 1/2 cup of olive oil instead of 1 cup 
  • Didn't add in Parmesan cheese to the pesto (instead topped some on the finished pasta). This helped lighten the pasta without compromising flavor.
I served it with broiled, seasoned chicken and steamed green beans. We cooked two chicken breasts and sliced them into strips after they were cooked. Since fava beans are rich in protein and fiber you don't need much additional meat. The entire meal stretched to 5 meals. So I packed up the three portions for lunches!

To make all this happen on a busy weeknight. I used these make-ahead steps.
  • Step 1: Shell fava beans and parboil. Let cool and it will be easier to remove from additional covering on the bean. I did this on the weekend.
  • Step 2 - Night before: If using frozen chicken defrost two breasts in the refrigerator or in cold water. Process the pesto sauce. It will be thick. 
  • Step 3: Cook spaghetti and reserve 1/2 cup of pasta water to thin out pesto. Grill or broil chicken breasts. Stir in prepared fava bean pesto sauce to cooked pasta, adding reserved pasta water 1 tablespoon at a time until you have your desired consistency. Slice chicken breasts. Serve with grilled or steamed veggies or a green salad. 
Enjoy! I will definitely make this again!

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