Fava Bean Puree: Ancient Recipe of Macco di Fave

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Cooking Guide: How to Prepare the Perfect Fava Bean Puree


Fava Bean Puree, or ‘Macco di Fave’ in Sicilian, is a quintessential Sicilian dish. Its roots are scattered across Sicily, most notably in Raffadali, Agrigento. The dish, known locally as ‘A pasta co’ maccu,’ is a traditional feature of the Feast of Saint Joseph, celebrated annually on March 19 in Ramacca, located in the metropolitan city of Catania. The festival’s highlight is the tasting of this delectable dish in the town’s main square. Born out of peasant culture, this humble yet nutrient-dense dish has ancient origins, believed to be known even to the ancient Romans. Interestingly, the term ‘maccu’ in Sicilian also refers to an arrogant or haughty demeanor.

Related articles: Traditional Italian Vegan Dishes

This dish is essentially a long-simmered puree of dried fava beans, usually paired with a vegetable, such as chard, wild fennel, or tender green zucchini. It is customarily served simply dressed with extra virgin olive oil. Some variations might include the addition of pepper.


Time: 90 minutes
Difficulty: Easy
Servings: 4


  • 350g Dehulled Dried Fava Beans
  • 1 Spring Onion
  • 1 Carrot
  • 1 Garlic Clove
  • Wild Fennel
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  1. Rinse the dried fava beans thoroughly, then soak them for at least two hours.
  2. Peel and finely chop the carrot and spring onion.
  3. Sauté them in generous swirls of olive oil, along with a crushed, unpeeled garlic clove.
  4. Drain the fava beans from their soaking liquid and add them to the sautéed vegetables. Stir well to mix. Then remove the garlic clove and cover everything with warm water. Season with salt, cover with a lid and simmer over low heat for at least an hour, or until the fava beans start to break down. Stir often and remember to add a splash of warm water from time to time if the soup becomes too dry during cooking.
  5. Serve the fava bean puree piping hot and creamy, finished with pepper, chopped wild fennel, and a drizzle of raw olive oil.

The recipe can be made with either store-bought fava beans or dried ones. As soon as it’s ready, the fava bean puree should be served immediately to maintain its creamy texture: this is because it dries quickly, solidifying. In various parts of Sicily, it’s allowed to set, then cut with a knife and cooked again on a griddle or fried, much like polenta fries. Regardless, you can store your fava bean puree in the refrigerator for up to 2 days, well sealed in an airtight container.

Topics: How to make Macco di Fave, Traditional Sicilian recipes, Cooking Fava Bean Puree, Preparing food for the Feast of Saint Joseph, Authentic Italian vegan recipes, Benefits of the Mediterranean diet, Best Italian dishes to try

Featured image: Macco di Fave with pasta, source


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