Follow/Be a Fan


Honeymoon Ravioli

Nutella Bread for Dessert or for Breakfast!


Learn to Make Fresh Pasta (with a video!)

Easy Italian Pulled Pork

I love to sew - come on over and see what I'm making!

Make Homemade Limoncello


Harvest Grape Bread

Tips for Homemade Marinara Sauce

Breakfast Fruit Walkaway is a family favorite

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

Love knitting? Come read my knitting blog, Italian Dish Knits.

A Delicious Vegetarian Dish: Pasta alla Norma

Eating Our Way Through the Amalfi Coast

Make Whipped Cream Firm

My Favorite Chocolate Cake Recipe

SUBSCRIBE for free and never miss a post:



or Use Key Words to Search this Site

Lemon Cake from Capri

Cacio e Pepe

Eggplant Lasagna

 Thanks, Mom!


Learn to Make Arancini


Bucatini all' Amatraciana

Learn How to Make Artisan Bread with no Kneading for Pennies


Strawberry Cheesecake Parfaits Require No Baking

Make Pie Dough in 60 Seconds!

Make Your Own Vanilla Extract


Spicy Bucatini all'Amatriciana - a Roman Classic

My Mom's Pork Chops

Chocolate Panna Cotta


My Five Inexpensive Kitchen Essentials

Beet Ravioli with Goat Cheese

« Pizza Quattro Stagioni | Main | Asparagus Frittata »

Rigatoni with Fava Beans and Pecorino

This is the beginning of fava bean season and many people are not sure how to prepare this spring vegetable.  They are becoming increasingly popular and you can find them at farmer's markets and even some grocery stores.  Some people call them broad beans, but most likely they will be labeled as fava beans.  These beans are very popular in Italy and many Italians like to eat them in the most simple manner - young favas, peeled and raw with a slice of pecorino. The flavor combination is perfect.

Preparing fava beans requires two steps.  First, you must remove them from their pod.  Then you must boil them in salted water for a minute or two and then peel the bean.  The skin is easily removed but it takes time.  Once the skin is removed, the bright green bean is revealed.  Then you can add it to anything  you like - salads, sauces, or eat them on their own.

This recipe combines that perfect flavor combination of favas and pecorino but adds plenty of black and red hot chili peppers. 

Rigatoni with Fava Beans and Pecorino


for a printer friendly recipe click here
adapted from Andrew Carmellini's Urban Italian
serves 4-6

  • 3 pounds fresh fava beans, pods removed (about 2 cups with pods removed)
  • 1 pound rigatoni
  • 3 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 medium onion, sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts
  • 1/4 teaspoons red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated pecorino cheese, plus more for sprinkling
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil (about 12 leaves), roughly chopped


Put a large pot of salted water on to boil for the pasta.

Put another large pot of salted water on to boil to blanch the fava beans.

Place a large bowl of ice water next to your stovetop.

When the blanching water boils, throw the shelled fava beans into the pot and blanch them for about one minute.  Remove them with a strainer to a bowl of ice water to stop the cooking process.  Remove the translucent skin from the beans.  They should slip right out, easily.

Add the rigatoni to the pasta water to cook and start preparing your sauce.

In a large skillet, add 1 tablespoon of butter, the onion and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and cook until the onion starts to soften, about 2 minutes.

Add the garlic and pine nuts and cook until both have begun to toast, about 2 minutes, stirring often to keep the garlic from burning.

Add the red pepper flakes, oregano and 3/4 cup of the pasta water and mix to combine.  Add the fava beans.

When the rigatoni is just al dente, remove with a strainer and add right to the skillet with the onion and fava bean mixture.  Stir until the pasta is coated with the sauce, about 1 minute.

Remove the skillet from the heat.  Add the salt and pepper, the rest of the butter and the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, the grated pecorino cheese and the basil and mix everything together well.  Serve with pasta in individual serving bowls, sprinkled liberally with more pecorino and black pepper.
Links to more fava bean recipes:
Grilled Fava Beans from 101 Cookbooks

Spring Fava Bean Fennel Salad from Simply Recipes


PrintView Printer Friendly Version

Reader Comments (14)

What a vibrantly beautiful dish you created. I'm not even sure if I can get fava beans here, but I'm going to look after seeing your wonderful creation.

May 17, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterCiao Chow Linda

I really get excited at the beginning of this season. I love seeing all the ways people use these wonderfully savory little beans, and this dish is by far a winner!

May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterEric

I've never had fava beans. I bought preboiled ones from Trader Joe's and they are sitting in my fridge. Two Italian food bloggers said they didn't like them and gave a negative description of the taste. Hmm...maybe I should give them a shot? How would you describe the flavor?

May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMichele

Fava beans require a little bit of work, but they are SO worth it! they're right up there with artichokes and pomegranates! This recipes looks delicious, Italians know how to enjoy simple flavours the best :)

May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterMarta

Oh my, you make me want to go out and get some Fava beans right now! Yummy recipe and thanks for the tips on how to prepare the beans. I hope you wouldn't mind having Foodista readers directed to your blog. It's easy, just" REL="nofollow">add your choice of widget and you're all set!

May 18, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDesmone007

I love Urban Italian Elaine! This is such a beautiful dish and it screams spring!

May 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterProud Italian Cook

I love fava beans, but have never eaten them raw. This dish looks SO fresh and inviting!

May 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

looks so light and yummy. Love the fresh green color in your images. So beautiful!

May 19, 2009 | Unregistered Commenteroneshotbeyond

this looks so delicious... and healthy... and I just need to make it now! Love the pics!

May 19, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterGaby

you KNOW how much i love this pasta... simple and well - perfect. but man do i hate peeling those suckers.

i made a small pot of dried fava beans yesterday. i bought them in nyc. dried and split. and they were excellent. of course, a much different animal than fresh, but it was new to me and i loved them. i threw in a red onion, carrot, rosemary, thyme, garlic and a little piece of guanciale rind. so good. no picture so no blog post. but so good. and yes, with a poached egg. i mean, why not?

May 21, 2009 | Unregistered Commentercook eat FRET

Perfect combo and so healthy.Yum! I just planted my fava beans this morning. Enjoy your weekend.

May 21, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterYankeeSoaper

I've never had fava beans but I've been wanting to try them. Now I have a reason. thanks

May 22, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterThe Food Hunter

I have loads of fava beans growing enough for an army. You can keep beans from year to year to replant. Fresh fava beans with Il Fiorello Atisan Olive Oil is the best dish in the world. I love spring and fava's

May 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterAnonymous

Nice looking Spring pasta! I like the vibrant greens.

May 28, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterKevin

PostPost a New Comment

Enter your information below to add a new comment.
Author Email (optional):
Author URL (optional):
Some HTML allowed: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <code> <em> <i> <strike> <strong>