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Marchigiana Fava Bean Soup


  • ¼ pound thick-sliced pancetta
  • 1 tablespoon—plus for drizzling—extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 stalk of celery
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 1 small bunch of parsley
  • 1 sprig of rosemary
  • 8 ounces canned peeled Roma tomatoes
  • 1½ quarts good quality chicken broth (preferably home-made)
  • 8 ounces fregola pasta, or other pearl-shaped pasta
  • 8 ounces shelled fava beans (Trader Joe’s now sells frozen and shelled fava beans)
  • Grated pecorino to taste
  • Toasted and sliced bread, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Dice the pancetta into ¼-inch cubes.
  2. Finely chop the onion, celery, garlic, parsley and garlic.
  3. In a heavy-bottomed pot over medium heat, add one tablespoon extra virgin olive oil. Add the pancetta and the chopped vegetables. Season with salt and pepper. Sauté until the vegetables are soft and the pancetta is cooked through.
  4. Squeeze the tomatoes in your hands into the pot. Season again with salt and pepper and sauté for about 5 minutes until the tomatoes and vegetables are well combined.
  5. Add the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Again, season with salt as needed. Add the fregola and cook for the length of time indicated on the package (generally 8-10 minutes).
  6. Lower heat to simmer and add the shelled fava beans. Cook until the beans are tender (as little as 1 minute).
  7. Serve with grated pecorino cheese and a crostini drizzled with olive oil.