Minestra di Riso e Fave

Rice and Broad Bean Soup

banner

From springtime onwards, broad or fava beans are sold at roadside kiosks, which sporadically line the route from the airport into the heart of Rome. One of the most perfect flavour combinations in the world has got to be these fresh, tender beans coupled with soft and crumbly, incredibly strong-tasting pecorino cheese. Both reach their peak at the same time, when the ewes have plenty of milk available for their spring lambs, and extra for cheesemaking.

Ingredients

  • 1 kg/2 ¼ lb (unshelled weight) fresh broad/fava beans
  • 50 g/2 oz/¼ cup lard or white cooking fat
  • 1 large onion
  • 30 ml/2 tbsp tomato paste
  • 300 ml/½ pint/1 ¼ cups hot water
  • 200 g/7 oz/1 cup short grain rice
  • 25 g/1 oz unsalted butter
  • 1 litre/1 ¾ pints/4 cups boiling water
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • 115 g/4 oz/1 ¼ cups freshly grated pecorino cheese, to serve

Method

  1. First, shell the broad beans, then skin them by putting them in a bowl and pouring over boiling water to cover. Leave for 1-2 minutes, then refresh in cold water. Push the beans out of their skins using your fingers.
  2. Chop the lard and the onion together to make a blended mass (this is called battuto in Italian). Fry this slowly in a large pan until the onion is soft. Add the beans.
  3. Stir the tomato paste into the hot water and pour into the pan, then season with salt and pepper. Stir and simmer for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir the rice into the soup, then stir in the butter. Gradually add the boiling water, stirring constantly and keeping it at a slow rolling boil. Cook for about 15 minutes, until the rice is tender. Season to taste and serve with grated pecorino.

,