The first night after daylight savings ends when it stays light until 8 pm is special. Even though there's still a chill in the air, it makes you want to eat dinner outside, sipping cold rosé, dreaming of warm summer nights to come. This pasta tastes of those first few days of real spring.
The one thing that was on our list of requirements for an apartment when we moved to Oakland was an outdoor space, and we lucked out with our current little house. We have a tiny patio, just big enough for a table and chairs and a grill—but it's enough. I came up with this pasta dish when I spotted fava beans at last week's farmer's market, and inspired by the abundance of lemons and mint in our neighbors' gardens. though it might seem like a lot of lemon juice for pesto, it adds an acidity that the shrimp and fava beans need. Any leftover pesto (though we didn't have any) would also be delicious smeared on toasted baguette slices, topped with a little sea salt.
2 cups frozen peas, defrosted
1 cup arugula, packed
1/2 cup mint leaves, packed
3/4 cup grated pecorino cheese
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
2 teaspoons lemon zest
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons half & half or heavy cream
1/4 cup olive oil (or more, as needed)
1/2 teaspoon salt, plus more to taste
2 lbs. fava beans (in their pods)
1 lb. small pasta, such as shells, orecchiette or farfalle
1 lb. shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese
Make pesto: Add all ingredients to the bowl of a food processor, and process until mostly smooth. Add more olive oil and salt, if needed. Set aside until ready to use.
Make pasta: heat a cast iron skillet or griddle over high heat. Add fava beans in a single layer, and cook until charred and blistered on one side, about 2 minutes. Flip over and cook until charred on other side. Repeat with remaining fava beans. Let cool slightly, then remove beans from pods into a bowl and season with salt.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add pasta and cook according to package directions. When 2 minutes of cooking time remain, add shrimp to pot and cook until just pink. Drain pasta and shrimp.
Add pesto to the bottom of a large bowl. Toss with pasta, shrimp and fava beans, then top with pecorino cheese.