This delicious Sicilian Pasta with Fava Beans recipe was passed down through generations of our family from my great grandmother, who lived her entire life in Castelvetrano, Sicily. My nana made it for me when I was little, and it was by far my favorite pasta dish for my entire childhood.
I would sit in her love-filled kitchen, perched on a booster seat on top of one of her yellow naugahyde chairs. She would bring me a delicious bowl of soupy Pasta cu Favi (in the Sicilian dialect) and I would tuck in for a feast. When I make it now, I feel her love and it takes me right back to that kitchen in Sacramento long ago.
Fresh fava beans are in season only for a few weeks in early summer, and now’s the time to find them at your local farmer’s market. We’re fortunate to live near San Diego’s Little Italy neighborhood, where the Little Italy Mercato takes over several blocks every Saturday morning. Strolling through the Mercato is always a treat for the senses, and I typically come home with some delicious ingredients. This time it was fava beans!
Fava beans take a little bit of preparation before they can be cooked. After removing the beans from their shells, they have to then be peeled. Once the outer casing is removed, the tender green meat inside is sweet, delicious and slightly nutty in flavor. Believe me, it’s worth the work.
Sicilian Pasta with Fava Beans Recipe
This recipe is really quite easy – I hope you like this dish as much as I always have.
- 1 1/2 cups shelled and peeled fava beans
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 yellow onion, diced
- 2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
- 3 cups chicken stock
- 1 lb fresh pasta (my nana always used orecchiette or shell pasta)
- 2 tbs chopped parsley
- salt and pepper to taste
- lots of grated romano cheese (lots)
Set a pot of water to boil for cooking the pasta noodles.
In a pan over medium heat, combine 1/4 cup of the olive oil with the diced onion and cook until tender. Add garlic, salt, pepper and chicken stock, heating until just beginning to bubble.
Cook pasta al dente. Drain and put back into the pot, adding the other 1/4 cup of olive. Stir and set aside.
Add fava beans to bubbling pan, cooking for 2-3 minutes until just tender. Do not overcook or you will get mush!
Combine fava bean mixture with pasta, stirring well. Ladle into bowls, sprinkle generously with cheese and add a bit of parsley for garnish. Serve and enjoy!