Fava Bean Pods Parmigiana
This recipe was recommended to me by Rita, a dear friend and a costume designer at RAI, Italy’s biggest television company. On saturday mornings, when I go to Rome for the live broadcast on RAI 1, we chat and she always has some interesting tips and comments for me.
Tonight I tried to cook Rita’s recipe for a new friend of mine, the girl blogger behind Dolcezze di Nonna Papera, and she really seemed to appreciate it (we both had a second helping).
Since the pods are blanched and not fried, this dish is much lighter than a traditional Parmigiana. The breadcrumbs and tomato sauce mix reminds me of one of my favourite Tuscan dishes, “pappa al pomodoro”. I’m pretty sure you’ll be amazed by the rich and delicious taste of this recipe. You should definitely try it! And if you need another good reason, just consider this: pods represent almost almost 80% of the weight of fava beans, so it would be a huge waste to throw them away.
The pods from 1 kilo of fava beans
500g tomato sauce
200g cheese slivers
1 garlic clove
Extra virgin olive oil
Fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper
Shell your fava beans and keep the pods soaked in cold water until you’re ready to use them. Remove the peduncles and the closing filaments in case they’re too tough. Boil the pods in slightly-salted hot water. In the meantime, prepare the sauce (unless you have some left from another recipe). Brown the garlic clove with two tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil on low heat. Add some tomato sauce or peeled tomatoes, season with salt and a pinch of sugar and cook on medium heat for 10 minutes at least. Lightly grease a small high-sided roasting pan or 4 single-serving molds and sprinkle them with a little more than half of the breadcrumbs. Form a layer of pods on the bottom, add some tomato sauce, a handful of cheese slivers and a couple of fresh basil leaves. Carry on like this until you’ve finished all the ingredients. Eventually, sprinkle with breadcrumbs and bake at 180 degrees C for 30 minutes. Serve warm. Put some Parmigiana aside – the day after it might be even better!