On April 24, 2017, while on a business trip in New York, I had an affair. It was at I Sodi where I met my lover. After a long day of work, a short subway ride, and a brisk walk through the West Village, I scored a spot at the bar of this charming neighborhood restaurant. Two glasses of Pelissero Nebbiolo Langhe 2013. An appetizer of grilled white asparagus with mushrooms. A perfect Bresaola. And then - the Spaghettini Verdi, pictured above: house made pasta with a fava bean pesto. Yes, a fava bean pesto made from fava beans, thyme, pine nuts, Parmesan and Rabiolina cheese. Each bite was better than the last. So creamy. So seasonal. So sultry. It was an affair to remember. In fact, recall that scene from the movie Unfaithful where Diane Lane is riding the train back home and flashing back -- with giddy, guilty pleasure -- to the passionate romp she'd had with Olivier Martinez moments before? Well, it was kind of like that. It's now been four weeks since my passionate romp with that Spaghettini Verdi, and I still can't stop thinking about it and feeling amorous.
Each spring, fava bean season is so brief and fleeting. I love the bright green color and the earthy flavor. Since they require a couple of steps to prepare, I usually opt to order them in restaurants rather than make them at home. In fact, I had a delicious, silky, fava bean purée last night in San Francisco's North Beach at Da Flora - my sibling-in-law's neighborhood gem. Still reeling from my fava bean pesto tryst in New York, when I saw them available in our CSA last week, I had to have them.
Rather than make a pesto or a purée, I decided to simply sauté the fava beans in olive oil with garlic, fennel, and crushed red pepper flakes, and then toss them with fresh Ricotta, Parmesan Cheese, plenty of pasta water, and a freshly made Spring Herb and Lemon linguine procured that day from Market Hall. My dish was not very photogenic, but it was delicious. My husband praised it as "restaurant quality." High praise, indeed. But I shall always remember that I Sodi Spaghettini Verdi as the one that got away.