Fave & Cicorie, traditional recipe from Puglia

At a series of dinners serving typical Puglian dishes last year – this was the dish that produced the most ‘wows’ and the most requests for the recipe. It really couldn’t be simpler.. The essential fave, split (i.e. without outer casing) dried broad beans may be tricky to find, although many Italian delis sell them, as do some health food shops… Failing that you may just have to come to Puglia to stock up! The ‘cicorie’ referred to in the title is a kind of bitter green vegetable, but spinach works just as well – the important thing is that the accompanying green vegetable must have a slightly bitter taste and must be really well drained – squeezing out any excess water with the back of a spoon if necessary before combining with the fave. This dish is also delicious garnished with strips of roasted red pepper.

The addition of the potato produces a smoother puree – you can omit it if you want a coarser puree or are avoiding potatoes. The leafy vegetable is served at the side of the mound of puree and mixed on the fork… It also looks pretty to fork strands of the green through the puree and serve in a communal dish with roasted pepper strips around the side.


300g dried, split, fave
A small onion or half a larger one (around 80-100 g)
A small potato cut in slices (around 80-100 g)
Very good extra virgin olive oil (from Puglia if possible!)
A dark green leafy vegetable
A red pepper if desired


Soak the dried broad beans for a minimum of 2 hours – overnight is better.
Rinse them well and place in a heavy bottomed pan with the onion and potato cut into large pieces.
Add enough unsalted water just to cover and then close with a lid.
Bring to the boil and then lower the heat as far as it will go.
Check periodically to make sure they are not sticking or dry.
After around an hour or an hour and a half they should be cooked; the important things is that the beans should be cooked enough to mash with a fork.
Drain the beans, potato and onion and then puree in a blender (hand held is fine).
Add around 4 tablespoons of good olive oil or however much is needed to make a smooth puree.
Salt to taste.
If the puree seems a bit ‘wet’ spread it out on a plate and leave to dry out for a few minutes.
Lightly cook or steam the green vegetable and serve as described above.
Just before serving drizzle some more olive oil in a circle over the puree.
This needs to be eaten warm or hot, but you can reheat by warming in a frying pan over a low heat, with a little extra oil.

For market visists, cookery lessons and all things Pugliese for foodies see www.personalpuglia.com

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