Fresh Fava Beans, Semolina and Pancetta Minestra. Spring Recipe

It’s Spring when air and light are vivid, days are longer, trees wear gems and buds, flowers start to chit-chat form flowerbeds and balconies.

To me is spring when I start to shell fresh fava beans and peas watching Tv.

It’s a habit I have since I was a child when I helped my grandma while we watched together tv.

It has been with her I start to know and appreciate all the old American movies and those of Totò, a famous Italian actor, and all the vegetables from the garden.

When we went in the garden, she wanted I tasted taking directly from the plant each kind of vegetables. In this way I started to know the “clean taste” of everything, the difference between sour and ripe and among the varieties.

Among many food memories, especially I remember texture and peel of ripe tomatoes, crunchy little zucchini and legumes’.

Still today, spring seems to me to have the taste of fresh fava beans and peas. And still today I shell them on my sofa in the front of tv and I cook them with pleasure.

Fresh Fava Beans, Semolina and Pancetta Minestra. Spring Recipe

About peasant food and fresh fava beans

Seasonal soups have been a part of Italian cuisine for millennia.
I love bring on my table this Spring recipe of fresh fava beans minestra.

This a typical Italian recipe of peasant tradition. Today it could seem typical especially of the south of Italy but one time it was cooked in many different region.
I found a recipe of fresh fava beans in an old medieval Romagna cookbook of the fourteenth century.

No surprise if you think that Romagna region one time was poor and based only on a peasant economy.

In this romagnola version of the recipe, fava beans are with semolina and a little of Italian Rolled Pancetta (pancetta arrotolata).

What is the difference between flour and semolina?

The difference between semolina and flour basically lies in the type of grains used to produce flour. Semolina indicates durum wheat flour, while the generic term ‘flour’ usually indicates soft wheat flour.

Both flour and durum wheat semolina are used to make bread and bakery products, although soft wheat flour is usually recommended for bakery products, while semolina is more suitable for pasta, bread, pizza and flat bread.

Monica, buona cucina

Fresh Fava Beans, Semolina and Pancetta Minestra. Spring Recipe

Food tips

© You can opt among traditional meat broth, chicken or vegetable. On the blog find my family recipe for a traditional Italian broth of meat and chicken: HERE.

© Just before to serve, you can add in some cubes of Asiago cheese.


serves 2

Broth, 1 litro, abundant
Fresh fava bean, 300 g
Rolled pancetta, 50 g
Onion, 1 little
Semolina, 50 g
Sea salt, black pepepr, olive oil to taste
Fresh grated parmigiano reggiano, to taste


Shell fava beans and cook in salted boiling water for 10 minutes.

Leave to cool temperature and eliminate also the peel of fava beans.

Bring to a boil the broth, add in fava beans and semolina, stirring sweetly but constantly for few minutes.

Cook on medium-low heat about 15 minutes. Then, turn off the heat and adjust of salt and pepper.

In the meanwhile, clean and cut finely onion, chop coarsely pancetta and cook together, sweetly, in a pan for 10 minutes.

This minestra needs a time to rest before serving of one hour, during this time semolina absorb part of the broth.

Serve it warm and just before to serve sprinkle with fresh grated parmigiano reggiano and  garnish each plate with pancetta.

Fresh Fava Beans, Semolina and Pancetta Minestra. Spring Recipe

Reading tips

If you’re interested in learning Emilia-Romagna’s culinary tradition, maybe you could starting from the lecture of The Cooking of Emilia Romagna: Culinary Treasures from Northern Italy (Hippocrene Cookbook Library) written by the chef-instructor Giovanna LaMarca. 

Maybe you can find interesting also one of my cookbooks, where you find some typical Emilia-Romagna recipes and some kitchen notes about them, it’s Kitchen Notes.


Articolo disponibile anche in Ita


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