Macco di fave -Fava bean soup with maccheroni

Travel broadens you (but if you diet afterwards it's ok), and if you're the kind of traveler that doesn't head for a take away Big Mac in every city you visit, then you'll also end up by eating different things when you return.

Dried broad Beans, red onions, a tomato, olive oil and spaghetti. Simple ingredients..

In Umbria we ate a lot of lentils, chickpeas, and fava beans. On returning, I  bought my first bag of dry broad beans, ever. I wanted to try and recreate  some of those recipes that used dried beans. The very first recipe in the  Bugialli on Pasta book is Fava bean and Maccheroni soup. (The maccheroni  in this case is short lengths of spaghetti.)

But first, you have to soak your beans ... and peel them. I'll spare you the photographs (but I think I like the look of beans as they soak and swell). There were jokes about knowing why the Italians have their nonnas living in, sitting in the sun, splitting the shells from the soaked beans. It's a dull task, twelve hours of soaking still meant that you had to split the skin with a finger nail. Sitting comfortably while you do it, is a great idea.

Macco or purée of dried or fresh broad bean recipes appear in a number of places in Italy. There are also variations with lentils, but Bugialli says that his recipe for the 'classically simple' dish has been centered in Calabria for a long time.

  Fava bean soup with spaghetti
From "Bugialli on Pasta" by Giuliano Bugialli
 (Cameron House).

Serves: 8 to 10 (but freezes and reheats pretty

1 pound of dried fava beans
I very large and ripe tomato, or equivalent Italian tinned tomatoes
Coarse grained salt
2 medium sized red onions
1 pound of dried spaghetti
1/4 cup of olive oil
Salt and fresh ground pepper to taste

Fry the chopped onions in olive oil until golden, add the beans and chopped and peeled tomato, and  enough water to cover (about 10 cups for eight people).  When the beans are soft, add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. More boiling will break the beans down to pieces, but it tastes nice when they're whole too


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