Pasta with Fresh Fava Beans  


Pasta con Fave –Pasta chi Favi 


In Sicily, fava beans have been cultivated and consumed for over six thousand years. 

The fava beans are very convenient to cultivate for the rapid growth, for the very high yield and because they can be dried and preserved for the winter’s months; also as this plant grows it produces nitrogen which enriches and fertilize the soil. 

In the USA fresh fava beans are rarely available in supermarkets and are only offered for a short period of time in specialty shops. 

Frozen Fava beans are available in gourmet stores, but usually are too large and are no comparison to the fresh fava. 


Pasta with fresh fava beans is easy to prepare, however to make it properly the fava beans must be small and tender.  

The only ingredients used in this sauce are fresh fava beans, olive oil and garlic.  

Herbs and cheese are not added to the pasta con fave in order to appreciate its buttery taste and the nutty aroma. 

Fresh fava beans are sweet and have a delicate taste; the mild Italian garlic used in this preparation, balances well with the fruity flavor of the extra virgin olive oil.  

The traditional pasta used is spaghetti spezzati that is spaghetti broken into 2” lengths.   

 Fresh Fava Beans







  • 3 lb. fresh fava beans in pods  
  • 6 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, divided 
  • 3 cloves of Italian type garlic, smashed 
  • 1 lb. spaghetti, roughly broken into 2” lengths 
  • Salt and pepper to taste 




Fresh Fava Beans 

Remove fava from their pods. 

                        Fava in Pods

Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add a little salt and plunge beans into boiling water. Cook for 3 minutes then using a slotted spoon, transfer into a bowl with cold water. Strain the beans: If the fava beans are small and the skin is tender make a small incision on the skin and set on the side, however if the fava beans are larger and the skin is harder, gently peel and discard the outer layer, and set the shelled fava beans on the side.


                                             Fava Beans


Add 2 tablespoons of salt to the water to be used for cooking the pasta. 


The Sauce 

Over high heat, in a sauté pan, place the olive oil and the garlic; sauté over a medium heat until it is golden in color but not burned. Add the fresh fava beans and continue cooking at high heat for an additional 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add 1 cup of boiling water, then add salt and pepper to taste and simmer until pasta is ready. 


                        Pasta & Fresh Fave


The Pasta 

Cook the pasta al dente, following the manufacturer’s recommendation. When pasta is cooked, drain and return to the pot. Reserve a cup of cooking liquid. On a low flame, toss the sauce into the pot. Stir in the remaining olive oil, if it is too dry add some of the reserved pasta water and continue cooking for 1 or 2 minutes. The pasta and fava should not be too watery. Remove the pot from the heat and pour the pasta into a large serving bowl, or make individual portions. Serve the pasta immediately; place a pepper mill on the table and olive oil on the side. 

A young Sicilian chardonnay wine or a Bianco d’Alcamo will pair well with this dish.