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A garden full of fava beans inspires great Italian recipes

I had no idea that on the day my husband, Marvin, walked in from his garden with a handful of the first fava beans of the season, that we would be eating them at almost every meal for a long time.

Now we are enjoying home-grown fava beans during our “Safer at Home” confinement for lunch and dinner, with a new recipe almost every day. At first, when they were really young and tender, we just ate them raw out of the shell, as he brought them in by the bag full.

Raw fava bean pods and leaves

Raw fava bean pods and leaves.

We also love serving them with young Pecorino cheese, diced, and tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper, or in salads garnished with fresh grated Parmesan cheese.

Over time, as the favas mature, the larger beans become a wonderful soup blended with sauteed onions and eaten with fava bruschetta.

But my favorite dish is Pasta con Fave, fettuccini pasta in a big bowl with onions, fava beans and Parmesan cheese sauce. Perfect.

You can find favas at your local farmers market in spring, and very often in Middle Eastern groceries. Fortunately for me, I have Marvin.

Tuscan Fava Beans

1 cup shelled young fava beans
¼ cup fresh Pecorino cheese, diced

¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste

In a bowl, combine young fava beans and Pecorino cheese. Add olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste. Spoon into small bowls and serve with toasted country bread. Serves 4.

Note: If young fava beans are not available, shell beans and boil for five minutes, cool and then peel off outer skin. Combine with grated Parmesan and 1/4 olive oil, salt and pepper. Spoon into small bowls.

Fava Bean Soup

1 onion, chopped
2 cups fresh fava beans, (out of pod)
6 cups water
¼ cup Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Sauté onion until soft. Boil fava beans in 6 cups water until soft, cool, reserve liquid.

In a blender, add onions, fava beans and liquid from fava beans, blend, add additional water if needed. Add salt and pepper to taste. Transfer to a pot, bring to a simmer, then serve in bowls, garnished with grated Parmesan cheese. Serves 6 to 8.

Pasta Con Fave

_Pasta con fave_ combines fresh fava beans and Parmesan cheese.

Pasta con fave combines fresh fava beans and Parmesan cheese. Image by Photo by Judy Zeidler

1 onion, chopped
¼ cup olive oil
1 cup shelled fava beans
8 ounces fettuccini pasta, cooked
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper

Sauté onions in olive oil. Boil fava beans 5 minutes, cool and slip off outer skin, retain liquid. Add fava beans to sautéed onion with ½ cup fava bean liquid. Simmer for 5 minutes. Add cooked pasta and Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4 to 6.

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