risotto with fava beans-2

Since we came back from New Zealand a week ago, I’ve been seeking out comfort foods for most of my meals.  The weather has been surprisingly dreary the past week—with the exception of today which is sunny and glorious—making me want to curl up inside and nourish myself with big bowls of warm, hearty fare.

risotto with fava beans-3

This risotto is exactly the kind of thing that I’ve been craving; creamy and luscious without being too heavy. It’s peasant food—rice and beans—dressed up a little bit for a nice dinner in.  I won’t harp on about it—but if you’re starting to transition from Winter into Spring and want something simple, delicious and vibrant that will keep you warm, this is the dish for you.

risotto with fava beans

Risotto con le Fave – Risotto with Fava Beans

This is best eaten almost immediately after it comes off the heat. I like the addition of butter for extra richness, but you can omit this if you prefer a lighter dish. This risotto also works beautifully with peas instead of broad beans, should you have those on hand. Remember, a perfect risotto should pool out onto a plate when served, not clump together. Depending on your stove and the variety of rice you use, you may need to add some extra vegetable stock, so keep an eye out for a light, liquid consistency before you take your risotto off the heat.

Serves 4

  • 420 g / 3 cups fresh fava beans
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 brown onion, very finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 250 g  / 1 ¼  cups risotto rice (I used Arborio)
  • 150 ml / ⅔ cups white wine
  • 700 ml / 3 cups warm vegetable stock
  • finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 30 g butter
  • 120g / 1 cup grated parmesan

Take the fava beans out of their pods, and cook in boiling water for one minute. Drain and allow to cool slightly, then remove the skin from each bean by pinching the skin at the top and pushing the favas out from the bottom.

In a large sauté pan, heat the olive oil. Add the onion, and garlic, and cook until translucent and starting to take on color.

Add the Arborio rice, and stir constantly for 1-2 minutes, or just until the rice begins to stick slightly. At this stage, lower the heat, and add the white wine. Stir until evaporated.

Continuing to cook on low heat, add one cup of vegetable stock to the rice, then gently stir and allow to the liquid to evaporate almost fully before adding the next cup. Continue this process until you reach the final cup. After adding the last cup of liquid, add the fava beans and stir through. This should take about twenty minutes.

All the final cup of vegetable stock to cook down until the rice is tender, but each grain its shape and there is enough liquid to allow it run off a spoon easily, almost like a thick sauce. At this stage you want a risotto that’s a tiny bit more liquid than you want to end up with.

Turn off the heat, add the lemon zest, parmesan, and butter, and stir through the risotto.