This dish was created with the help of Ms Serendipity, that nice companion of many adventures in the kitchen (and elsewhere). It all started at the farmers' market, the day after I got back from a week of vacation, earlier this month. I saw fave fresche (fresh fava beans) and bought a pound. I got the beans out of their pods and blanched them briefly, plunged them in ice cold water, let them cool for a few minutes, then removed the outer layer.
From my market tote bag out came a nice leek (porro), and I decided to marry it to the fave. I cooked the thinly sliced leek in a frying pan with olive oil and the leaves of two sprigs of thyme (timo) until quite soft, about 10 minutes. I put a lid on and added some water, as needed, to keep the leek moist. I then added the blanched fave and warmed them up for a couple of minutes. After seasoning with salt and freshly-ground black pepper, I put the content of the pan in the food processor and started the machine. The consistency of the resulting mash was not to my liking, so I started thinking, and that is where Ms Serendipity came into the picture.
From the already-mentioned tote bag out came a bunch of bietola (also called bieta, chard). I have never seen rainbow chard in Italy (literally, bietola "arcobaleno"), i.e., chard whose stalks are of a color other than white. I usually buy rainbow chard, because I like the colorful stalks. I washed the chard leaves (about 3/4 lb) and let some water cling to them, then cut away the stalks (which I used to make another dish: more on this in a future post). I sliced the leaves into ribbons (no more than one inch wide), then wilted them for a few minutes in a covered pan. Finally, I added the chard to the food processor and started the machine again.
This time, I liked what I saw and tasted. Dinner time was fast approaching, so I decided I would let my guests give me feedback on the dish. The feedback was positive and, as a result, I have made this purée a couple of more times. Here's how I served it:
- as is, as a side dish
- as a filling for a frittatina (thin one-egg frittata) that I garnished with crumbled fresh chèvre (caprino)
- as sauce for gnocchi di ricotta.
This is my submission for My Legume Love Affair - Eleventh Helping, the popular, legume-centered event that is the brainchild of Susan, The Well-Seasoned Cook and is hosted this month by Lori Lyn of Taste with the Eyes.
Click on the button to hear me pronounce the Italian words mentioned in the post:
or launch the purè di fave e bietola audio file [mp3].