Maccu di Fave

Broad Bean Purée


Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Serves

    4 to 5

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

‘Fave’ is the Italian name for the broad bean, but in Puglia, where this recipe comes from, the word is also used to describe this dense, oily mash based on broad beans and potatoes. Along with orecchiette, the ear-shaped pasta peculiar to the region, fave is a staple food. It is usually eaten as a first main course (primo piatto), as an alternative to pasta or risotto. Traditionally, it is topped with boiled bitter greens, creating a wonderful combination of textures and flavours as well as being extremely nutritious and cheap to make.


  • 225 g/8 oz/11.4 cups dried broad/fava beans
  • 400 g/14 oz potatoes
  • about 2 large handfuls greens, such as cabbage or kale
  • 100 ml/31.2 fl oz/scant 1.2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt


  1. Put the beans in a large pan or flameproof earthenware pot and cover generously with cold water. Bring to the boil, lower the heat and simmer gently for 2 hours.

  2. Meanwhile, peel the potatoes, cut them into 2.5cm/1in slices and put them in a bowl of cold water. Leave to soak until the beans are ready.

  3. After 2 hours, the pan of beans will have developed a foamy scum. Skim this off, then pour away most of the water by tilting the pan carefully over the sink.

  4. Drain the potato slices and spread them over the semi-drained broad beans, then top up to the level of the potatoes with fresh water. Add a pinch of salt and return the pan to the heat for a further 30-40 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, boil the greens in salted water for 10-20 minutes, until tender.
  6. Adjust the seasoning to taste, then serve the purée in heated shallow bowls, with a generous swirl of olive oil on top of each portion and a topping of greens.