Fava Bean Puree with Wild Chicory

  • Active Time 35m
  • Total Time 3h 10m

Serves 4

This dish is common to all Sicily and Apulia, and the recipe is one of the oldest in Mediterranean gastronomy. Already in existence in Egypt at the time of the Pharoahs, it later was known in Roman plebian cuisine as puls fabata, and has come down to us with only minimal changes. Its Sicilian title is maccu, which comes from ammaccare, a dialect word meaning to crush. Some recipes advise cooking the onion with the beans as described here, others stay closer to the ancient formula and suggest adding the onion raw at the end of cooking. This puree is like a soup, but any that is left over will harden like polenta, and can be sliced and fried, or sauteed with vegetables. In Apulia it also is served to accompany a seafood soup.


  • 1 cup dried fava beans (broad beans)
  • 2 potatoes, sliced
  • 1 celery stalk
  • 1 small onion, sliced
  • Salt
  • 9 ounces wild chicory
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil


Soak the beans for about 2 hours. Drain and put in a saucepan, ideally terracotta. Lay the potato slices on top. Place the celery and onion over the potatoes. Add salt to taste and water to cover. Simmer over moderate heat for 1 hour, skimming from time to time.

Meanwhile, clean the wild chicory and put it into a saucepan with just the water that remains from washing it. Cook over moderate heat, with salt to taste, for 20 to 25 minutes. Saute in a skillet with the olive oil for 5 minutes to bring out the flavor.

Check the progress of the beans as they cook, stirring them often so that the mixture becomes a puree. When they have absorbed all the water, add the extra-virgin olive oil, mix well and serve the beans and chicory together in small bowls.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Weldon Russell. All rights reserved.

RecID 1022

nutrition information per serving

970 calories; 84g total fat; 0mg cholesterol; 46mg sodium; 43g carbohydrates; 15g fiber; 14g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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