• 1 pound fresh fava beans, shelled
  • 10 ounces cremini (stems and caps), or white button, trimmed, wiped clean and sliced
  • ¼ cup plus 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ pound sliced pancetta or prosciutto
  • One 32-ounce canned homemade plum tomatoes, or 10 to 12 very ripe plum tomatoes, cored and chopped or one 32-ounce can whole plum tomatoes with juice crushed in a blender for 2 to 3 seconds
  • 6 leaves fresh basil, coarsely chopped
  • 1 pound orecchiette, bowtie pasta or substitute any type of short, flat pasta

Traditionally, my family enjoys fava beans with sautéed onions in the spring when favas are freshest. I created this dish combining fava beans, mushrooms, prosciutto, fresh tomatoes and tossed with pasta.

Tip: To shell fresh favas, crack the fava bean by pressing one corner of the pod to split it open.

Serves 4 as a main course; 6 as a first course

1. Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Add the fava beans and mushrooms and boil for 3 to 5 minutes until beans are tender. Drain, and place the favas and the mushrooms in a bowl with 3 tablespoons of the olive oil, 2 of the pressed garlic cloves, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Let stand at room temperature for 1 hour.

2. Heat the remaining olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion, pancetta, and ½ teaspoon of the salt and cook, stirring for 2 minutes. Add the fava beans and mushrooms and cook, stirring for 3 to 5 minutes longer. Add the tomatoes and basil and cook, partially covered, for 15 to 20 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, combine 4 1/2 to 5 quarts of water and the remaining teaspoon of salt in a large pot and bring to a boil. Add the pasta and cook according to package directions or until al dente. Drain, and add the pasta to the skillet. Toss to coat, then serve immediately.