This is a wonderful Roman spring dish that can be made when the peas and favas are young and sweet in their shells. The name comes from scaffare— to shell in Roman dialect. It is especially good when served with roasted spring lamb or goat. The outermost, less tender leaves of the Romaine, which you may not want to use in a salad, are perfect for this dish.
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 cup chopped trimmed scallions (tender green and white parts)
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 2 ½ pounds fresh peas in the pod, shelled (about 1 pound)
- 1 1/4 pounds fresh fava beans in the pod, shelled (about ½ pound) blanched and peeled
- 1 cup finely diced zucchini
- ½ teaspoon peperoncino (crushed red pepper)
- salt to taste
- 2 cups thinly shredded romaine leaves
- 1 tablespoon finely shredded fresh mint leaves.
In a large, heavy casserole with a tight fitting lid, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the scallions and onions and cook until wilted, about 4 minutes. Add the peas, fava beans, zucchini and peperoncino. Season lightly with salt. Stir well; reduce the level of heat to low and cover the casserole tight. Cook 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the romaine and mint; cover the casserole and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are very tender, about 25 minutes. (The vegetables should give off enough moisture during cooking to prevent sticking or burning. If you find the vegetables are sticking, you may add a few tablespoons of water. Make sure the heat is very low and the pot is tightly covered before continuing to cook the vegetables. It is fine, however, if the vegetables do brown a little.) Season to taste with salt and serve hot.