Pasta e fave (broad beans) is a spring-time, Italian, rustic dish.
There are many Italian, regional combinations of pasta e fave, some add chicory or wild fennel, or tomatoes. Guanciale is an Italian cured meat made from pork’s cheek (guancia – cheek) and it is also a favourite flavouring. Thick bacon can be substituted, but somehow this is not produce I associate with fresh spring flavours and I always omit it. In keeping with the theme of spring, on this occasion I added a couple of zucchini. Fresh mint leaves can be added at the time of serving the pasta.
Peas are also in season in spring and the same dish can be prepared with peas or a combination of broad beans and peas.
Depending on which part of Italy you favour, you can add Pecorino or Parmigiano, but once again, I prefer to keep the taste “clean” and the drizzle of extra virgin olive oil, fresh mint and freshly ground black pepper is enough for me.
Short to medium sized pasta that is suitable for zuppa or minestra (soup) is used in this dish and the pasta can be presented with the broad beans, served either wet or dry. You can choose whether to obtain a rather dry or slightly brothy dish – I always like it wet, just as I like a wet pasta e fagioli (borlotti beans).
I like to cook my pasta in with the beans, however, the pasta can be cooked separately, drained and then added to the beans. If this is your preferred method, cook the broad beans for 20-30 minutes, until soft, cook the pasta until al dente, then drain and dress the pasta with the broad beans and the broth.
1.5 kg fresh broad beans
2 spring onions
1 or 2 fresh garlic cloves
½ cup extra virgin olive oil
salt and to taste pepper to taste
2 zucchini (optional)
1 litre or more of chicken or vegetable broth (or water)
short pasta, a couple of handfuls or more, depending on how much pasta you prefer
your best and fruitiest, extra virgin olive oil to drizzle on top
Heat extra virgin olive oil and sauté the onions and garlic.
Add the shelled beans, zucchini and parsley and sauté briefly. Add broth, season with salt and pepper, cover, and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes. Make sure that the liquid is boiling before adding the pasta. Add more hot broth or water if needed.
When the pasta is , turn off the heat and serve, but remember to drizzle your best extra virgin olive oil on top….it will be very fragrant!
Add more black pepper and/or fresh mint leaves when serving.
Grated cheese is optional.
Other Recipes with broad beans:
Two Sicilian favourites:
And for those of you in the Northern hemisphere, a Sicilian specialty: