Fave would have to be, hands down, the family's most anticipated annual vegetable. We love their distinct flavour and beautiful velvety texture. We eat them raw, cooked on their own or mixed in with pasta and lots of parmesan.
Fave in Umido (Braised Broadbeans)
This recipe or rather method of cooking the fave ensures the bean's full flavour is captured and celebrated. The following rules apply; keep it simple, less is more, one vegetable at a time.
500 g fresh or frozen fave
1/2 cup of olive oil
1/2 cup water
Half small red onion - finely chopped
Salt to taste
100g pancetta finely chopped (optional)
You will need a deep medium size pot. There are 2 options when proceeding to braise.
Option A is advised if you are adding pancetta. Heat oil, then saute onion and pancetta for a couple of minutes or until onion is translucent. Then add the fave, water and salt. Simmer for 20-30 minutes on a medium to low flame.
Option B is advised if not adding pancetta. This is Nonna's method. She simply places beans in pot she adds water, oil, onion and salt to taste and lets it simmer away for about 20-30 minutes.
Whichever option you take, the key is to get the water and oil amount right. Aim for approximately 2/3 deep when combined. Remember, you are not boiling. The aim is to reduce the liquid whilst it's simmering away.
When are they ready? When they turn a lovely olive colour and become soft in the middle.
As a side dish or on its own with lots of crusty bread and a slice of parmesan.
Pasta e fave
This is a is a classic traditional dish. It's a humble and honest food reminiscent of old world Calabria. The process is simple and the taste is sensational.
1. Cook fave in umido as per recipe above.
2. Boil pasta - the most suitable variety is ditali pasta - until al dente. Drain and add to fave. Combine over a low flame for 30 seconds or so. If it is too dry, feel free to add a little more oil or water from pasta.