Square Spaghetti with Fava Beans

Spaghetti alla Chitarra alle Fave

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves


    as a main course

Appears in

How to Cook Italian

How to Cook Italian

By Giuliano Hazan

Published 2005

  • About

This recipe comes from The Marches region, where I ate it in a restaurant called Giardino in the town of S. Lorenzo in Campo. Fresh fava beans, which are in season in May and June, are delicious raw, dipped in sea salt, or cooked. Normally I do not remove the skin of the fava beans, but here it important because this is a sauce. Since only the green tops of the fennel are used, you can serve the bulb thinly sliced in a salad.


  • pounds fresh fava beans in the pod
  • ½ medium yellow onion
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 ounces pancetta sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 1 pound ripe tomatoes
  • 4 to 6 sprigs green feathery fennel tops
  • Salt
  • 1 pound spaghetti alla chitarra or spaghetti
  • ¼ cup freshly grated pecorino romano


  1. Remove the fava beans from the pods and peel the skins from the beans.
  2. Peel and finely chop the onion. Put the olive oil and onion in a 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté, stirring occasionally, until the onion turns a rich golden color, about 5 minutes.
  3. While the onion is sautéing, unravel the pancetta and cut into thin strips. peel the tomatoes and coarsely chop. Chop enough of the fennel tops to measure 2 tablespoons.
  4. When the onion is ready, add the pancetta and cook until it begins to brown, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes, fava beans, and fennel tops. Season with salt, lower the heat to medium-low, and cook until the fava beans are tender, 20 to 25 minutes. If all the liquid in the pan evaporates before the fava beans are cooked, add some water.
  5. Fill a pot for the pasta with at least 6 quarts water, place over high heat, and bring to a boil.
  6. Add about 2 tablespoons salt to the boiling water, put in the spaghetti, and stir until all the strands are submerged. Cook until al dente, then drain well. Toss the pasta with the sauce and pecorino cheese. Serve at once.


You can make the sauce up to 1 day ahead and refrigerate it.