Pasta with Fava Beans is Rocco's favorite pasta. Mine, too. Fava beans, also known as broad beans, can be found fresh for a short period of time in the summer months, when they are green. Other times, they are sold dried and must be soaked like other beans. This simple and hardy pasta dish really warms you up on a cold winter day. This is true Sicilian comfort food.
Rocco arrived just as I was about to add the fettucini to the boiling water. From watching him make this my whole life, I remember that he always breaks up the pasta into smaller pieces because of the somewhat soupy nature of this sauce after the fava beans break down to a chunky paste. He was not happy with the size I broke up the pasta, too big. And he seemed worried about the amount of pasta I was making for two people, a half of a pound was not enough in his estimation. Upon serving Rocco was also disappointed because I did not serve him his usual mound of pasta in a giant serving bowl like he is used to.
"Dad, you can't eat so much pasta, the doctor said so."
"Then I'll just go find another doctor."
Another illustration of the Sicilian way. There were obviously seconds for both of us. We really enjoyed our father daughter lunch, which is always followed with a nice shot of espresso, which Rocco said I made too, soupy. Remember, when a Sicilian is complaining, he is happy.
Pasta With Dried Fava Beans
1/2 lb or just over 1 C. of dried fava beans soaked overnight
3 cloves of garlic chopped finely
hot red chili flakes (pepperoncino) to taste
2 bay leaves
extra virgin olive oil
1/2 -1 lb fettucini, depending on how many bowls of pasta
In a heavy duty pot, briefly sautee the garlic and bay leaf with the pepperoncino in olive oil. Add the beans and sautee for a few more minutes. Add about 1-2 C. of water, enough to cover the beans. Add a little salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer covered for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally. The beans will break down to a soft chunky paste. Season with more salt and pepper. Add sauce to pasta and top with a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil. Makes enough sauce for 4 bowls of pasta. Adjust amount of pasta accordingly.