Fava beans, or fave in Italian, are the emeralds of spring and early summer gardens, and are as ancient an ingredient as any. They are grown all over the Italian peninsula, and are most common in the Mezzogiorno, where in less prosperous times beans were considered la carne dei poveri, or the meat of the poor. Today, they remain a versatile ingredient in the modern Italian kitchen, found in recipes both rustic and elegant—served with meat, fish, pasta and salads.
Favas are also called broad beans, among a number of other colloquial names, and are often confused with lima beans. Shelling them can be laborious, but it’s well worth the effort for this delicate and uniquely flavorful legume.
Photography by Ellen Silverman
Food styling by Maggie Ruggiero
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