Cook the Book: Linguine with Fava Beans, Garlic, Tomato & Bread Crumbs

Cook the Book: Linguine with Fava Beans, Garlic, Tomato & Bread Crumbs

Shelled (but not peeled) favas. [flickr: luvjnx]

Linguine with Fava Beans, Garlic, Tomato, and Bread Crumbs from The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual by Frank Falcinelli and Frank Castronovo is less of a recipe and more of a template for incorporating spring and summer vegetables into a quick and very satisfying pasta. Fresh pasta is great in pretty much any preparation and when you match it with a perfect tomato sauce studded with freshly shelled beans it's hard to beat. But what really made me want to share this recipe is the method in which the Franks deal with their favas.

Instead of spending time tediously shelling and peeling fava beans the Franks are happy to farm this time consuming task out to their dinner guests. Learning how to delegate tasks in the kitchen is one that comes mostly from spending time behind professional stoves, and one that most, "No, that's fine, I've got it," home cooks could benefit from. And prepping favas is one of the easiest to farm out.

Sending a bowl of fava beans into the dining room (or living room, or backyard) with one of your closest friends or family members, arm them with a beverage, and make sure that they know the the two integral steps of fava prep: shell and peel the tough outer skin of the beans. It's a task that can be entrusted to even to most novice cook and one the will save you at least an hour of time. Most of the time your guests will be more than happy to help with the work load and you will be free to focus on other parts of the meal.

Once the favas are shelled and peeled they are very briefly sautéed with garlic and then simmered with a bit of tomato sauce, vegetable stock, and chile flakes. This simple sauce is tossed with fresh egg linguine and then finished with grated Percorino, black pepper, and bread crumbs. The sweet favas and tomatoes plus crunchy, toasty bread crumbs, sharp cheese, and biting pepper makes for a plate of pasta that is satisfying but still light enough for a warm night.

This recipe is very much the essence of The Frankies Spuntino Kitchen Companion & Cooking Manual. It's about having a great time and getting everyone involved in the cooking process since the food always tastes better when you've had a hand in the preparation.

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  • Yield:4


  • Fine sea salt
  • 1/4 cup grapeseed oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped
  • 1 cup shucked fava beans (from about 3 pounds of whole beans), blanched and peeled
  • 1 cup vegetable broth
  • 1 cup Tomato Sauce
  • Large pinch of red pepper flakes
  • Fresh linguine
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 4 teaspoons grated Pecorino Romano
  • 4 heaping teaspoons dried bread crumbs
  • Freshly ground black pepper


  1. 1.

    Put a large pot of water on to boil and salt it well.

  2. 2.

    Meanwhile, heat the grapeseed oil over high heat. After a minute, add the garlic. Cook it, stirring occasionally, for a minute or two until it is fragrant. Add the favas and stir or toss to coat them in oil. After 30 seconds, add the vegetable broth (carefully, in one big addition) to cool the pan down. Stir or shake the pan, then wait for the broth to come to a boil and add the tomato sauce, a teaspoon of salt, and the red pepper flakes. Drop the pasta into the boiling water and cook and add the butter to the sauce.

  3. 3.

    Drain the pasta and add it to the warm sauce. Turn off the heat and toss the pasta to coat it with the sauce. Portion the pasta among serving bowls and garnish with the olive oil, grated cheese, and bread crumbs. Offer black pepper at the table.