Sagne, Guanciale and Broad Beans in a Pecorino Cream

Luciano Coccia tells us about the harvest of his most longed for and ‘endangered’ crop, his broad beans (fave) and shares his Aunt’s recipe for an Abruzzese masterpiece, Sagne and Fave  (broad beans) for a springtime treat!

They are many like me who cultivate a vegetable garden, which literally borders the woods and who find themselves having to deal with wild animals especially the frequent nocturnal visits of wild boars and roe deer, which often massacre a long-awaited harvest!

Living with this reality is not always easy!  However, the respect I have for nature and my own attitude, so to speak, rebellious and somewhat anarchistic allows me to accept the pitfalls with a sort of resigned fatalism.  I believe everything subverts the established order, even when hidden under the harmless guise of a small country garden.

Over the years, however, I have learned to understand the habits and even the tastes of all these animals from the experience passed on by the old peasants and farmers who have helped me. My aunt, for example, planted garlic and also flowers, especially roses, at the edge of her garden peas.  She said were good at keeping the boars at bay who, rooting in frustration, kept away from their odour which was unpleasant to them. However, that tip does not work with the Roe deer, nor with the Porcupines. But the latter are shy animals, which almost never come close to homes. For some time now I have been growing the most endangered vegetables of all just outside my home, broad beans, fave!  And in memory of my aunt and her good advice and their bountiful harvest, here is her Sagne and Fave Recipe tweaked only a little to make this a true Abruzzo masterpiece.

Abruzzese Sagne and Fave

Sagne and Fave

Lucciano Coccia
A springtime Abruzzese pasta masterpiece of broad beans, mint and pecorino cream!
Course Primo
Cuisine Italian
Servings 2 people


  • 150 g Sagne Recipe here
  • 50 g Guanciale
  • 15 g Grated Pecorino
  • 1 Black Pepper freshly ground
  • 400 g Broad Beans
  • 20 g Scallion
  • 2 Fresh Mint Leaves
  • 2 tbp Extra Virgin Olive Oil


  • It is very important for this dish that you use fresh sagne pasta and newly picked broad beans, the latter gets bitter as they hang around. Make your sagne using this recipe
  • Plunge the broad beans into boiling water without salt and cook for 6/7 minutes.
  • Drain and let them cool. Set aside a mugful of cooking water.
  • Meanwhile, prepare a pecorino cream with a tablespoon of cold water and the grated cheese. Mix well and set aside.
  • Peel the broad beans and put them to one side.
  • Cut the guanciale into matchsticks and finely chopped shallot and put everything in a pan with 2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Fry gently for 2 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a blender, blend a couple of tablespoons of the broad beans with a little water from their cooking. Keep aside.  the Sagne.
  • At this point, season the legumes in the pan for a few minutes together with the rest of the sauce, also adding the mint leaves Season with salt, but do not overdo it. Add a pinch of freshly ground pepper.
  • Add the blended beans, a little pasta cooking water and mix well. The sauce should be fluid and creamy.
  • Drain the Sagne and let them infuse together with the sauce. If necessary, add a little more of the cooking water.
  • Finally, remove from the heat, add the Pecorino cream and stir well.
  • Serve hot Sagne and Fave at the table. If desired, decorate with a few leaves of mint
  • (Ps If you don't like guanciale, replace it with pancetta. If you can't find Abruzzese Pecorino use Pecorino Romano as an alternative
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
Sam Dunham
Author: Sam Dunham

Sam is a very lucky midlife 'mamma' to A who is 12 and juggles her work as a self-employed freelance SEO food and travel copywriter and EFL teacher. She is the founder of the Life In Abruzzo Cultural Association, co-founder of Let's Blog Abruzzo. she is the founder of the 'English in the Woods' initiative, teaching English outdoors in a forest style school.

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