Friday, March 2, 2012

Exquisite fava beans mash: the Sicilian "maccu"

Do you know what is the so-called "MACCO DI FAVE"? In Sicilian the word macco becomes maccu and is used to name an exquisite dish we prepare with dried and peeled fava beans. It is a mix between a thick soup and a puree, because when you cook fava beans they mash up and become an homogeneous soup. You can also have it with pasta, as one of our 'minestras'.

Recipe for 4 people:

250 gr dried peeled fava beans
3 tbs tomato sauce
*a small bunch of wild fennel (like 20% of the one in the pic)
3 tbs extra virgin oil of olive
hot chili pepper (a little piece or half of it)
salt & black pepper
*if you can't find wild fennel you can easily replace it with some thinly chopped rosemary

Normally you need to pre-soak the fava beans for at least two hours. Place them in a bowl with cold water. 

After 2 hours, wash the fennel under running water. In a pot on a medium heat put some water (about 1 litre) together with the fava beans. As soon as the water starts to boil add salt, the fennel cut in small pieces and half of a little chili pepper; then reduce the heat at the minimum.

Let the fava beans cook slowly, stirring from time to time so that they don't get stuck at the bottom of the pot. To obtain the mash they have to cook about one hour all together, but it also depends on how water you put. If it's too liquid, wait until the majority of it has been absorbed by the beans. 

After the first 25 or 30 minutes, add the spoons of tomato sauce and the extra virgin olive oil. Finally, serve hot with grilled slices of rustic bread spread with a clove of garlic.

It's extremely simple, incredibly healthy and delicious, everyone loves it and is also perfect for vegeterians. Can we ask for more? :-))


  1. My Dad grows lots of fava beans, but finding wild fennel.. we have to drive to another valley!

  2. using a pressure cooker is also a good way to cut down on the time - we make macco often and it turns out wonderful

  3. Hi guys, thanks for your comments. If you don't find wild fennel easily, just put something else that can give a nice parfume to the dish, or some fennel seeds if you have them.
    Pressure cooker is a very good idea, thanks for the tip! :-)

  4. Is ts tablespoon or teaspoon?

  5. Dear Danny, my apologies. It's tablespoon! :)