You know Spring has arrived when you start to see Baccelli (fava beans) in the markets and on Tuscan tables.
Known also as fave (fava beans) in the rest of Italy, Baccelli is the Tuscan word for fava beans.
These beans always remind me of my Nonno in Australia as he used to grow so many of them in his vegetable garden. Now that I live in Tuscany they still evoke familial emotions as they are usually placed in the middle of the table when we visit my in-laws to be opened and shared at the end of the meal. Usually paired with salty pecorino cheese and or prosciutto crudo, the slightly bitter flavour of the beans compliment each perfectly.
Add a fresh loaf of pane Toscano and a glass of Chianti and you have the perfect Spring lunch or light dinner. What could be more simple and delicious?
Fava beans can also be cooked and are wonderful tossed with pasta and a good quality extra virgin olive oil. They are delicious when they are cooked and pureed into a creamy soup or you can simply boil them briefly, then crush onto toasted crostini with crumbled pecorino and naturally drizzled generously with a good quality extra-virgin olive oil.
Enjoy the first Taste of Spring with this lovely fresh pasta dish that celebrates the delicate flavours of Baccelli mixed with Basil and Spring Onions.
200grams of Plain Flour Type ‘0’
200gm peeled baccelli / broad beans
1 bunch of Basil
2 Spring Onions
200ml Full Cream Milk
Extra virgin olive oil
salt & pepper to taste
Pecorino cheese – grated
First Make the Pasta by making a well in the center of the flour. Add the eggs and mix, slowly adding in the flour until you form a dough. Knead well, wrap in plastic wrap and let rest for at least 30 mins.
Roll you pasta out when ready, using a pasta maker so that it is not too thick, then make your chosen choice of pasta – fettucine is our choice for this recipe.
Blanch the beans in boiling water, then remove the skins from half of the beans. Set aside.
Slice the Spring Onions including the green part and add to saucepan with 2tbsp of Olive Oil. Cover saucepan and saute over medium heat.
Add the beans that are still in their skins together with the basil to the saucepan.
Add milk, a pinch of salt and pepper to taste and cook for around 3-5 minutes.
Blend mixture quickly (leave small pieces of the vegetables in the mix) then transfer to a deep fry-pan.
Bring water to boil for the pasta adding a handful of salt.
Add the pasta – if fresh, cook for 2 minutes – If dry, follow the cooking time recommended on the packet.
Drain pasta and finish cooking in the fry-pan together with the sauce.
Serve the pasta in a shallow bowl, sprinkle over the peeled beans and add grated pecorino cheese.