Spaghetti With Fava Beans, Bread Crumbs and Marjoram

This recipe is inspired by a dish from southern Italy made with fresh peas rather than fava beans. Substitute one for the other, depending on what you find at the market. In the original peasant recipe, bread crumbs stand in for cheese, but I’ve given you the option here of Parmesan or pecorino.


  • 2 ½ pounds fava beans, shelled and skinned
  • Salt
  • ¾ pound spaghetti
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ½ cup fresh bread crumbs, preferably whole wheat
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons fresh marjoram (to taste)
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • Freshly grated Parmesan or pecorino or a combination for serving
  • Nutritional Information
    • Nutritional analysis per serving (4 servings)

      679 calories; 10 grams fat; 1 gram saturated fat; 5 grams monounsaturated fat; 2 grams polyunsaturated fat; 123 grams carbohydrates; 24 grams dietary fiber; 29 grams sugars; 35 grams protein; 176 milligrams sodium

    • Note: Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available data.

Serves four


  1. Bring a large pot of water to a rolling boil over high heat. Salt generously, and add the spaghetti. After five minutes, add the skinned favas. Cook over high heat, stirring occasionally so the pasta doesn’t stick together, until al dente, about 10 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a small skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat, then add the bread crumbs, marjoram, salt and pepper. Cook, stirring, until crispy, three to four minutes. Turn off the heat, and set aside.
  3. When the pasta is cooked al dente, remove 1/2 cup of the cooking water and transfer to a large serving bowl. Drain the pasta and fava beans, and add to the bowl. Add the bread crumb mixture, toss together and serve, passing the cheese at the table.
  • Advance preparation: You can skin the favas and prepare the bread crumbs several hours before cooking and serving the pasta.

30 minutes

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