My first experience of purea di fave was in a villa near Perugia, midway through a long weekend celebrating the wines and country food of Umbria. As long as I shall have a working memory, the bliss that flooded my senses on that day in Umbria will endure as one of the best moments of my life at table.
Reconstituted dried fava beans are cooked and pureed with milk-soaked bread and olive oil. The parboiled greens are sautéed in olive oil scented with garlic. The two are put on a platter, the pureed fava below, the broccoletti above, and drizzled with a little raw olive oil. The flavor I find so affecting is monastically simple. It comes from the exchange between the creamy, mellow, nutty beans and the slightly bitter, garlicky strands of broccoletti di rape, and from the good olive oil that connects them both. Reverently is how I eat it, as slowly and as wordlessly as I can manage.
© 1986 Marcella Hazan estate. All rights reserved.