Roman-Style Dried Fava Bean Soup with Pancetta and Marjoram

Preparation info

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Appears in

Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking: Traditional and Modern Recipes to Savor and Share

Mediterranean Clay Pot Cooking

By Paula Wolfert

Published 2009

  • About

When I lived in Morocco, I was taught this delicious, earthy fava bean soup by the late Mario Ruspoli, an old friend who frequently came down to Tangier from Paris to visit his mother. Mario was a renaissance man: a filmmaker, an expert on beetles and whaling, and a great gastronome. His mother, Princess Marta Ruspoli, was an eccentric who believed so fervently in the myth of Atlantis that she was totally snookered by her grandchildren when they cleverly seeded her garden with Indian head pennies. Finding one, she’s alleged to have exclaimed, “See, the red Indians were here! This proves Atlantis existed!”

In this recipe, which is said to be older than the Lost Continent, the meaty taste of dry ham and onion complement the resinous flavor of the favas.

Dried fava beans are one of the oldest food staples of countries bordering the Mediterranean. Buy them peeled online or at your local Middle Eastern store, being sure to choose the larger split variety for this particular soup.