Maccarruni with Fava Beans and Olives Mennelle
Not to be confused with macaroni, maccarruni in Italy takes on a few different shapes, but in general it tends to be a thicker pasta. Puglia is actually known more for its orecchiette, but other pastas, such as maccarruni can be found throughout kitchens in the region as well. This particular recipe comes from Nonna Tetta of our Cooking and Hiking Between the Seas trip, and features ingredients in abundance in Puglia, especially fava beans, and olives. After all, its said that Puglia has over 60 million olive trees!
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_Fava beans puree_
* 2/3 lb (300 g) dried fava beans (also known as broad beans), soaked for 12 hours
* 2 1/4 lbs (1 k) wild chicory
* 1/2 medium onion, finely sliced
* 1 ripe tomato (or canned in Winter), seeded and chopped
* 1 garlic clove, chopped
* Salt, to taste
* Olive oil, both for cooking and for the table
* 1 lb burnt-wheat macaroni
* 12 oz black olives mennelle (or leccine)
* 1 potato
* 2 oz ricotta cheese
* Extra virgin olive oil
* White pepper
1. Use a thick-bottomed pan that is large enough to contain the beans. To the pan, add a quarter cup of olive oil, and then sauté the onion and the garlic, until the garlic is translucent.
2. Add the tomato and cook for a few more seconds. Then, add the beans and chicory, and enough water to cover them at least an inch.
3. Bring the pot to a boil and simmer the beans for 2 hours, skimming away any froth that rises to the surface occasionally.
3. When the beans are done, stir them with a wooden spoon to reduce them to a puree. Nonna Tetta says you can use a food mill or blend them, “but the slightly uneven texture of the hand-blended pulse is quite nice.”
4. Saute the black olives with the garlic and chili.
5. Cook the pasta and toss with the olive oil, and add the mashed beans.
6. Serve with ricotta cheese sprinkled over the pasta.