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Fava, Lemon and Parmesan Risotto

Fava is a fun word to say, and when I saw fava beans already shelled, parboiled and frozen in a bag at Trader Joes, I got excited to try them out. Like any bean, the Fava is high in protein, fiber, and tons of nutrients (provides you with 100% of your folate for the day – great for women in general but especially women who are pregnant or thinking of getting pregnant). What better way to try something new then to cook it into delicious, cheesy, creamy risotto?

Turns out Fava beans are not bright green. I thought they’d turn green once thawed – nope. So this is pale risotto. I would have served it with torn basil leaves on top but I didn’t have any (YOU should do this). Regardless of how it looked, the bright, citrusy, sharp parmigiano taste beat out the low grade for appearance.

Risotta means “rice” in Italian and usually you need to use arborio rice, which is a short grain white rice that gives off a lot of starch as it cooks (making the dish very creamy). This is available EVERYWHERE. You can make this healthier version using bulgar wheat or if you don’t want to babysit your pot, try this oven risotto. Either way, the veggies and parmigiano cheese make this a very happy, happy food. Perfect for the cool spring nights when you crave a springtime vegetable but you want it served HOT because it’s still pretty dang cold when the sun goes down.

Fava, Lemon and Parmesan Risotto

Serves 4-6

2 1/4 c. chicken broth

2 c. water

3 tbsp. olive oil

1 shallot or small onion, finely chopped

1/4 tsp. kosher salt

1 1/3 c. arborio rice

3/4 c. dry white wine

3/4 c. parmigiano cheese

Juice from 1/2 a lemon

2 c. fresh or frozen fava beans (thawed, if frozen)

Balsamic Syrup – if desired

1. Combine chicken broth and water in a small saucepan and heat to simmering – reduce temperature to lowest low and keep warm.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add shallot or onion and salt and saute until tender,  about five minutes.

3. Stir in rice and cook, stirring occasionally, until edges are translucent – about five minutes.


4. Add white wine and cook, stirring occasionally, until wine evaporates and pan is dr. Add 2 c. of the broth/water mixture and stir into rice. Cook, stirring every few minutes, until liquid is absorbed and pan is dry (should take about 10 minutes).


5. Add water/broth mixture in 1/2 c. increments until liquid is almost gone and rice is tender – about ten minutes more.

6. Add cheese, lemon juice and fava beans to pan and stir to combine. Serve, drizzled with balsamic syrup if desired.


*Risotto is best served immediately – that being said, I tupperwared this batch and reheated it at dinnertime with a little extra broth – still delicious!