This is the sort of recipe that you come up with when you are too lazy to go to the market to buy real ingredients but you have to eat so you make something up based on the limp contents of your fridge.
Sometimes, this does not go well, as in a dish I tried with chicken breasts and beets that turned the chicken a color nobody liked the look of eat except Oliver, my golden retriever. But sometimes you get something entirely edible, as I did on Tuesday.
I mean, it’s hard to go wrong when you have sweet corn, fava beans, leeks and fresh basil on hand, not to mention Baia artisanal pasta. Everybody liked it except Oliver who will eat almost anything, including purple chicken, but has not yet embraced the vegetable kingdom.
Good enough for Tuesday, as one of my ancient relatives used to say. You whip some up, chow it down, sit back and belch and wonder what the hell you are going to make on Wednesday.
¾ cup fresh fava beans (removed from about ten or twelve pods) or more if you are a favanatic
2 Tbls. Olive oil
1 cup chopped leeks (the white part)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Kernels cut from 2 ears of fresh sweet corn
¼ cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tsp. lemon zest
1 Tbls. Freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 Tbls. Mascarpone cheese
½ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano
½ pound Baia paccheri pasta (or fusilli)
Bring a large pot of slated water to boil for the pasta.
Meanwhile, ook the fava beans in a separate, small pot of boiling water, then drain and cool. Remove their skins and set the beans aside.
Heat the olive oil over medium-low heat in a large frying pan and add the leeks. Cook until tender, about ten minutes. Add the fava beans, corn and a few tablespoons of water. Cover and allow to steam for 2-3 minutes.
Add the pasta to the boiling water and cook according to the directions on the package. While the pasta cooks, add the basil, lemon zest and juice to the corn mixture. Stir in the mascarpone and maybe another splash of water if needed to make a creamy sauce. Add salt and pepper to taste and set the mixture aside.
When the pasta is ready, drain it and return it the pot. Add the corn mixture and toss, adding two tablespoons of the grated cheese. Serve the pasta immediately with additional cheese on the side.
Note: if you prefer a dish more veggie-heavy than pasta-ish, just use less pasta. I often do this, or save some of the cooked pasta to make a salad the next day.
Note Two: Nobody’s sayin’ this wouldn’t also be good with a little bacon or pancetta thrown into the mix—I had neither in my fridge on Tuesday.