Saturday, March 31, 2012

Fresh Fava and Cheese Risotto with Shrimp

I love cheese. I would even say it's one of my favorite foods. I love it melted. I love it straight out of the fridge, cool and crisp. I feel like I'm eating great protein and lots of calcium. It's awesome.
My husband loves cheese, too. But when he eats it, he thinks about the fat. Especially right now, as he's in an office competition that rates him on various levels of healthiness, including fat consumption. He's been pretty concerned about his cheese intake.

Enter Cabot Cheese--with 50% and 75% reduced fat cheese. And they're delicious.

Cabot Cheese contacted us and other members of the Recipe Redux to try out their reduced fat cheese and incorporate it into a recipe with a fruit, vegetable, or grain that's new to us. We were thrilled. They even gave us some goods for our lovely readers. We'll randomly select one reader to receive free Cabot cheese! Just leave a comment below to be entered into the drawing.

But finding a new fruit or vegetable? That's hard. The reason we haven't used it is because we don't really know about it, right? And grains? That's kind of our thing, to use odd grains already. They're not really new to us.
Enter fava beans. I'd seen a little bit of hype about these pretty green beans a while back, including on a couple of menus, and wondered about them. My mom and I went to a couple of stores here and couldn't find any of them. But as luck would have it, I had a trip planned to southern California this month. And let me tell you, if I lived in California, I might have had a lot easier time finding a new fruit or vegetable. The grocery store had cactus, cherimoyas, and whole bunch of other things that I've never heard of before. And, best of all, they had the happy, green pods of fava beans. These babies made it all the way from California in my suitcase. Aren't they pretty?

The instructions I had found online had warned me that peeling favas was time-consuming. And they were right, but not in a horrible way, just in a make-sure-you-have-time-for-this sort of way. The reason for this is that you get to peel them twice. First you pop them out of the pods.

Place them in boiling water that tastes as salty as the sea (the salt is to help them retain their lovely green color) for one minute, and then plunge them into a waiting bowl of icy water. Then you sit down with a cool drink and a TV show, and you start peeling them again. I used my fingernail to scrape a little hole in the skin, and then popped out the beautiful emerald beans.

In this recipe, fava beans reminded me most of crisp edamame--one of my family's favorite foods.

Fava and Cheese Risotto with Shrimp

1 1/2 C cooked brown rice
1/2 C cooked quinoa
4 C water
1 Tbsp coconut oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 to 2 T coconut oil
12 oz. cooked shrimp
8 oz. Cabot cheddar cheese, 50% reduced fat, chopped into small pieces
juice from 1 fresh lemon
1/4 tsp chili powder
1 tsp sea salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 C fava beans
2 tsp fresh, chopped marjoram or other fresh herb


1. Place brown rice, quinoa, water, and coconut oil into pressure cooker for 17 minutes on high pressure and let the pressure release on its own.  or cook in a rice cooker. Don't remove lid.

2. Mean while, saute minced garlic and chopped shallots in a large pan on medium heat in a little coconut oil, until soft.

3. When the rice is done and still warm, take off the lid quickly, and add garlic, shallot, shrimp, cheese, lemon juice, chili powder, sea salt, pepper, and 3/4 C fava beans. Toss together gently.

4. Replace lid and let it sit on warm for 5 minutes to let the cheese melt and fava beans cook slightly. (You can cover with a towel to keep it even warmer.) Remove lid and toss gently again.
5. Put risotto in serving dishes, garnishing with remaining fava beans and chopped marjoram.

6. Enjoy!

Note: I received free samples from Cabot Creamery of the cheese and giveaway items mentioned in this post. By posting this recipe I am entering a recipe contest sponsored by Cabot Creamery Cooperative and am eligible to win prizes associated with the contest. I was not compensated for my time.


  1. How yummy! I've never tried fresh favas, either. Can't wait to give this a try!

  2. I love fresh favas - we grow them in our garden (or try to, when the squirrels don't steal the beans).

  3. Oh yum, looks delicious! Love fava beans!