Now that it's summer and there is a bit more variety in local produce, we've re-started delivery of our weekly CSA box (technically, it's a big brown paper bag, but "box" does sound more appealing somehow). For me, part of the appeal of the CSA is that it forces me to cook something different than my regular standbys, which is what normally happens when I don't have sufficient time to plan before going grocery shopping for the week. The other mind-expanding part of the CSA is that while there's plenty of food in the "box", there usually isn't enough of any one vegetable to make a dinner dish exclusively with it, so I have to think of how to partner up various components of the box in a way that actually works.
For example, the box from a couple of weeks ago had a small bag of fava beans, which I'd read about but never bought because everyone is always talking about the double-shucking that they require. There was also one head of broccoli and 6 small-ish rainbow carrots (among a few other things). I decided to bite the bullet and double-shuck the favas (Mihai generously helped), used the same boiling water to blanch the broccoli, and sautéed the carrots in a pan. Once we mixed the veggies with some cooked farro, grated ricotta salata, and some olive oil, we had a pretty healthy and colorfully pretty weeknight dish on our hands (leftovers were good for lunch later in the week).
Farro with Fava Beans, Broccoli, and Carrots
All amounts flexible
1 cup uncooked farro
~15-20 fava bean pods
1 big broccoli head
6 medium carrots
⅓ cup grated ricotta salata
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt to taste
1. Cook the 1 cup of farro according to the package instructions. (Ours says: bring 3 cups of lightly salted water to a boil, add the 1 cup farro, and cook for 25-30 minutes.)
2. Bring a pot of water to a boil. In the meantime, remove the fava beans from their pods, cut up the broccoli into small florets, peel and slice up the carrots.
3. When the pot of water is boiling, drop in the shelled fava beans and blanch for 3 minutes. Remove from the pot with a slotted spoon and run some cold water over them to stop the cooking process.
4. Drop in the broccoli florets into the same hot water pot and blanch for 2-3 minutes. Drain the water and run some cold water over the broccoli now to stop the cooking process.
5. In a skillet, sauté the carrots with some olive oil. If you have a helper, he/she can remove the outer membranes from the slightly cooled fava beans while you are working on the carrots.
6. Toss the cooked farro, twice-shucked fava beans, broccoli, and carrots together in a big bowl or pot with the olive oil. When everything is mixed together well, add the grated ricotta salata and mix gently a couple more times. Add salt to taste.