Bucatini con Melanzane e Fava
Region: Italy, Apulia
Category: Pasta with Vegetables
This dish typical of the cooking of Apulia uses bucatini, the smallest of the tubular macaroni. It looks like a strand of spaghetti with a hole in the middle. In this recipe you can prepare the vegetables ahead of time, even the previous day, making for an easy and quick dinner that will please every one. This is a recipe for the late spring when fava beans are in season. Remember you don't deep-fry in high-quality expensive extra-virgin olive oil; you use a cheap all-purpose olive oil.
[photo: Clifford A. Wright]
Yield: Makes 6 to 8 servings
Preparation Time: 45 minutes
Olive oil for deep frying
2 medium eggplants (about 2 1/2 pounds in all), peeled and cut into strips
3 pounds fresh fava bean pods, shelled or 1 pound shelled fava beans
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 1/4 pounds bucatini (perciatelli)
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese and more on the side
1. In a deep-fryer or an 8-inch saucepan with a wire
fry basket, preheat the frying oil to 360 degrees F.
2. Cook the eggplant slices, in batches so you don't crowd the fryer, until golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes. Remove and drain on paper towels. Set aside.
3. Bring a pot of water to a vigorous boil over high heat, salt lightly, then cook the fava beans for 6 minutes. Drain and when cool enough to handle pinch off the skins. Set the peeled fava beans aside with the eggplant.
4. In a large skillet or flameproof casserole, heat the extra-virgin olive oil with the garlic over medium heat until the garlic is sizzling. Add the eggplant and fava beans, reduce the heat to low and cook until heated through, stirring gently so the eggplant doesn't break up too much. Turn the heat off.5. Meanwhile, bring 6 quarts of water to a rolling boil over high heat, salt abundantly with up to 1/2 cup of salt, then add the bucatini in handfuls. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally so the pasta doesn't stick together, until al dente. Drain without rinsing.
6. Transfer the pasta to the skillet with the garlic and over medium-low heat toss until all the pasta and vegetables are mixed well. Sprinkle with 1/4 cup cheese, toss again, and serve immediately with the remaining cheese at the table.