Fava Bean Scafata Recipe

May 2, 2012 4:01 pm

A recipe for cooking fava beans just like a Roman

fava beans
Photo: Alibaba
Slow-cooking fava beans with other vegetables makes for a perfect spring side dish, or try serving it over pasta for a light entree.

Scafata is a typical dish from the Italian region of Umbria made with fava beans, Swiss chard and bacon (or guanciale, if you can find it). Sometimes made with lima beans, scafata is greatly improved by using seasonal spring favas, which can be found at specialty and farmers markets. Tender and flavorful, fava beans are the perfect reminder that winter is over and a warm weather veggie bounty is right around the corner. 

No need to get fancy with prep work here, scafata is a homestyle peasant dish. Feel free to chop as roughly as you like. 

Don't forget to check out Alibaba's ode to fava beans — spring's most famous legume.

Servings: 2 to 4


1/2 pound shelled fava beans
3 ounces pancetta or bacon (or guanciale if you can find it), cut into cubes
1 small onion, minced
1 large handful cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
1/2 pound Swiss chard, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons olive oil
  1. In a large pot of salted water, boil the fava beans for 2-3 minutes and drain.
  2. In a large, heavy-bottomed pan, brown the onions in the olive oil over medium heat.
  3. Add the bacon, fry for a few minutes, then add the fava beans and Swiss chard.
  4. Toss to combine and let it cook at low temperature with the lid on for 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add the chopped tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes, adding hot water if it becomes too dry.
  6. Add salt and pepper to your liking and serve immediately. 
Level of Difficulty: 
Prep Time: 
15 minutes
Cooking Time: 
30 minutes
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