Fava Beans and Pecorino Toscano

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

In Tuscany, fava beans and Pecorino Toscano cheese are a classic springtime combination because that’s when the beans come into season. There, we don’t serve them in a salad—instead we sit, preferably outside, each person peeling his own beans and cutting pieces of cheese from a large wedge. At Da Silvano, I serve Fave con Pecorino whenever I can get my hands on fresh beans, not just the spring. (In January for example, I get them from California.) Peeling fava beans takes a lot of time, but is well worth it.


Peeling fava beans requires two steps: First, carefully remove the tough outer pod. (If you like, you can run a paring knife along the seam, but be careful not to push in too far or you’ll cut the bean.) Then, carefully remove the skin that envelops each individual bean. One pound/450g of fava beans in the pod yields about ½ cup/110g of beans.

Wine Suggestion: Chianti Classico–Rocca delle Macie



Total Timeunder 1 hour

OccasionCasual Dinner Party, Cooking for a date

Recipe Courseantipasto/mezze, appetizer

Dietary Considerationdiabetic, egg-free, gluten-free, healthy, low carb, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free, vegetarian

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Mealdinner, lunch

Taste and Texturecheesy, crisp, crunchy, sharp

Type of Dishfirst course salad


  • 2 pounds/900g fava beans, peeled (see Note)
  • 4 ounces/110g Pecorino Toscano, sliced into ½-inch/1-m-long, matchstick-thick segments
  • ¼ cup/55ml olive oil
  • Fine sea salt
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 leaves radicchio, sliced very thin


  1. Place the fava beans and pecorino in a small mixing bowl. Drizzle the olive oil over the top and season with salt and pepper. Toss very gently just to combine the flavors and being careful not to break the beans or crush the cheese.

  2. Mound a quarter of the beans and cheese in the center of each of 4 salad plates. Top each serving with a few slivers of radicchio.

    A More Complex Version

  3. For a variation on this recipe, do as my friends at Da I’Frasca of Montevarchi do: For each serving, top ¼ cup/55g fava beans with 2 tablespoons cooked and cooled cannellini beans, drizzle with the olive oil, then top with Pecorino Toscano and a few shavings of white or black truffle.


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