Maccu Puree of Fava Beans  

Macco di Fave - Màccu ri Favi 

The Tavola of San Giuseppe is an offering to the Saint that consists of a collection of food harvested around March 19th, to thank Him for the past year’s bounty and to get His blessings for the coming harvesting season. 

One of the dishes offered is the “Maccu” di San Giuseppe. 

This creamy legumes soup is cooked for the occasion, as it was prepared in the pre-Christian era; it is made with a mixture of the previous year leftover dry legumes and overcooked until it becomes a mush.  

The word maccu derives from ammaccare, or maccare, which means to press or to mash and in fact maccu is made by mashing the legumes to make a quick soup or in a more common way, to cook them until they become porridge. 

In Sicily, every place claims the maccu as been first conceived in their own town, however maccu is made all over Sicily and the only variance is the addition of different vegetables and different legumes. 

In time the maccu morphed into a simple soup made with fresh or dried fava beans, olive oil and a bunch of wild fennels or fennels seeds or other vegetables. 

Because of the variety of minerals and vitamins content, fava beans are useful in low calorie diets, also a valuable help to anemic patients and because of the high content of levodopa, the fava beans are a natural remedy to alleviate the effects of the Parkinson Disease. 

A dish of maccu will make a nutritious first course to satisfy a hungry table companion or a first-rate gourmand. 



Serves 5




  • 2 cups dried fava beans (1lb.) or 3 cups fresh, removed from their pods  
  • 2 whole cloves of garlic  
  • ¼ cup of extra virgin olive oil  
  • 2 teaspoons of crushed fennel seeds  
  • green foliage of bulb fennel for garnish     



 Dried Fava Beans

Rinse the dry fava beans and place in a 6 quart sauce pot with about 4 quarts of water. Soak for 24 hours and change the water at least 2 times.  

Using a paring knife, eliminate from the soaked fava the little dark membrane on top of each bean, remove and discard the bitter outer skin and set on the side. 



Fresh Fava Beans

Remove fava from their pods.

Bring a medium size pot of water to a boil; add a little salt and plunge beans into boiling water. Cook for 5 minutes then using a slotted spoon, transfer into a bowl with cold water. Drain beans, then gently peel, discard skin and set on the side.


The Maccu

In a 6 quart saucepan, over a high heat sauté the whole garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the fava beans and enough water to be 2 inches above the fava beans.  Keep a pot with boiling water on the side, to add if the fava becomes too dry.  

Bring to a boil then simmer covered for 45 minutes stirring occasionally, then add in the crushed fennel seeds. Liquid should be at least 1 inch above the beans at all times. Continue simmering at a very low heat for an additional one and a half hours, keep stirring and adding boiling water if it becomes too dry.

Cook the maccu until it has a creamy consistency; if it is too liquid prolong the cooking uncovered until most of the liquid is absorbed.


The Serving
Remove from the heat, mix in the remaining extra virgin olive oil and add some salt to taste.

Plate individual portions of maccu, garnish with the foliage of fennels.

Serve with crusty bread, crushed red pepper and olive oil on the side