Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Ode To the Corner Store & Orecchiette with Fresh Fava Beans, Ricotta & Mint

Growing up I loved the idea of having a  “corner store.”  The merchant greeted you by name and inquired about your family. You knew the store inside and out and never had to wander around aimlessly looking for simple items.

You were considered a regular…with a regular order…filled sometimes before you even arrived.  And this was ok because there wasn’t much reason to deviate. It seemed liked things were much simpler, not as many choices, and that wasn’t such a bad thing.  

The “corner store” was the news center of the neighborhood.  Anything you wanted to know about your neighbors you were able to find out at the “corner store”.  Most importantly you could find out what they were buying.   Commonly referred to as “Keeping Up with the Joneses”

The “corner store” was lost to me when I moved away from home; and I’ll admit...I miss the concept. 
Over the past 9 years Nicolli’s Italian Grocery has sowly transformed into our very own “corner store” bringing back that neighborhood feel.

We’re regulars; with a regular order. Joe & Peppy greet us by name; ask about our family; and know our standard order. Over the years they've introduced us to some wonderful new products that we've come to rely on, and have worked hard to keep our favorite items stocked.

On one of our recent visits Peppy offered us some fresh fava beans and I used them to make Orecchiette with Fresh fava Beans, Ricotta & Mint.  I love the creamy freshness of the ricotta and mint mixture in this dish.

So if you find yourself in the Phoenix area missing that neighborhood feel of a "corner store" check out Nicolli's.  After a few visits I'm certain you will become regulars too.

Orecchiette with Fresh Fava Beans, Ricotta & Mint

2 pounds unshelled fava beans
1 pound uncooked orecchiette pasta
1 tablesoon olive oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup ricotta cheese
1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup coarsely chopped fresh mint
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Mint sprigs

Remove beans from pods.  Cook beans in boiling water for 1 minute. Remove beans with a slotted spoon. Plunge beans into ice water; drain. Remove tough outer skins from beans; discard skins. Set beans aside.

Cook pasta according to the package directions. Drain pasta, reserving 1 cup pasta water. Place pasta in a large bowl.
Combine the 1 cup reserved pasta water, ricotta cheese, olive oil, Parmesan cheese, chopped mint, and pepper. Add beans and cheese mixture to pasta mixture; toss to combine. Garnish with mint sprigs, if desired.

****I'm submitting this to Presto Pasta Nights being held this week by Jacqueline of  Tinned Tomatoes.****


  1. This looks wonderful. Fava beans are a favorite of mine but I'm always lazy to peel them! But I just may have to try this. It does look great.

  2. I wish I had a corner store! I've never had fava beans before, but this does look like a tasty meal!

  3. What a a delicious dish this is! I love the fact that beans are so healthy and can be prepared to tasty!

  4. What a beautiful and poetic description of the corner store concept. I can't imagine living without mine!
    Those orecchiette are to die for, I'm bookmarking the recipe.
    E xx

  5. I had a corner store growing up too, and I actually have one where I'm living now. I love being within walking distance. Your pasta dish looks fantastic but when I think of the work shelling all the fava beans, I may content myself with looking at the photo - or using already shelled, frozen edamame beans instead.

  6. What a lovely combination of ingredients! I am waiting for fava bean season to start here and will remember your recipe when it does.

  7. love favas! Got to try them with mint!

  8. I've never made fava beans - they look great with the pasta!

  9. This reminds me of my Great Grandma who would walk down to the corner store every morning and by noon would have a big pot of food cooking on the stove. The pasta is so fresh and delicious looking - love the ricotta!

  10. I had a pasta all picked out for my BBQ this weekend and now I think you've changed my mind....

  11. This is a beautiful pasta dish. I have never cooked with fava beans, and I know I need too.

    The "corner store" relationship is still the best way to enjoy the shopping experience.


  12. I wish so much that I could find fresh fava beans! This recipe look amazing!

  13. I'm loving everything about this dish except the work to shell lava beans. Wish I could buy them already shelled. Corner stores are a fond memory for many of us, and I lucky enough to have one where I live now.

  14. A fun, sweet read. And a great way to prepare fava beans - so creamy good!

  15. This looks so amazing - refreshing and light in a sense. I just emailed this page to my BF so he can pick up the ingredients on his way home! Gorgeous photo too!

  16. This sounds simple and delicious. I appreciate that there are more beans than pasta - that's how I think it should be. Wonderful.