Pasta, Local specialties, Recipes

Pasta alla gricia with fava beans

Pasta alla gricia with fava beans

Today I’m going to share with you a traditional variation of gricia: pasta alla gricia with fava beans.

Pasta alla gricia is at the heart of the pasta tradition in Rome. Guanciale, pecorino cheese and black pepper are the pillars that sustain the pantheon of Roman pasta: carbonara, amatriciana and gricia itself!

This variation is highly recommended in springtime when you will find fresh fava beans. But you will be able to prepare this recipe all year long, thanks to the excellent frozen products available nowadays.

Pasta alla gricia with fava beans – how to have it right!

The secret to getting this recipe right is to create the perfect cream, that binds all the ingredients and the flavors together.

You can accomplish this thanks to these two tips:

  • smash part of the fava beans
  • as almost always, take advantage of the reaction between starch and grease, adding some pasta water in the final steps of the preparation. See also my “how to sauce pasta the Italian way” post for more!

Are you enjoying this? If you want to be sure to find this recipe next time you will find fresh fava beans, just subscribe to my blog (page bottom) or pin this page!

Since I know that some typical ingredients are not easy to be found abroad, I made some researches, and the best guanciale I found online seems to be this one (as usual, at no additional cost for you, buying from here can help this blog, so thank you!).

The other crucial ingredient for a good gricia is… the pecorino romano! It was not easy, since this Italian cheese has a lot of fakes online, but I eventually found this that is really a good pecorino romano: let me know in the comments your feedbacks.

But now it’s time to get your first pasta alla gricia with fava beans. Let me know if this is not one of the best pasta of your life! 🙂

Pasta alla gricia with fava beans

Pasta alla gricia is one of the most traditional recipes in Roman cuisine. It is the basis for carbonara (adding eggs), amatriciana (adding tomato sauce) or for this incredible pasta alla gricia with fava beans. I am sure it will become one of your favorites! Enjoy 🙂
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time40 minutes
Course: Primo
Cuisine: Italian, Roman
Keyword: fava bean, gricia, guanciale, tasty
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 550kcal
Author: Roberto
Cost: $2


  • a pan
  • a pot
  • a mixer


  • 400 gr pasta I chose spaghetti, but also rigatoni or other shapes will work. I don't recommend fresh pasta (e.g. tagliatelle) for this sauce.
  • 1 half onion
  • 400 gr fava beans weight is for the clean beans
  • 100 gr pecorino cheese
  • 100 gr guanciale
  • q.s. salt
  • q.s. black pepper (optional)


  • Prepare your ingredients. Fresh fava beans are recommended, but you can prepare this dish also with frozen ones.
    Pasta alla gricia with fava beans - ingredients
  • Slice the guanciale and gently fry it in a pan. This will make it transparent as it loses the grease.
    Pasta alla gricia with fava beans - guanciale
  • Peel the fava beans, removing the skin that would give a bitter flavor to the dish. It is not the funniest task, that's why we get married 😉
  • Drop half of the fava beans into salted, boiling water. 5 minutes will be enough. Important: don't waste the water, since you will use it to cook the pasta.
    Pasta alla gricia with fava beans fava beans boiling
  • Slice the onion and add it to the guanciale. There is a huge debate on this in Italy, but I love using it. You can comment on that 🙂
    Pasta alla gricia with fava beans - onion
  • Drain the fava beans from the water and put them into the mixer bowl. Add 50 gr of pecorino cheese and black pepper (according to taste). Note: roman traditional food loves black pepper! Mix the ingredients until you get a delicious cream.
    Pasta alla gricia with fava beans - smashed fava beans
  • In the pan where the guanciale and the onion are gently frying, add the remaining half of fava beans, and a ladleful of the cooking water. This will cook on low heat, covered with a lid, until the water is absorbed.
    Pasta alla gricia with fava beans - add the fava beans
  • Time to cook the pasta, in my case the spaghetti, in the water used to boil the fava beans. This will give additional flavor to the final result. One minute before the suggested cooking time, drain the pasta. Always remember to save one glass of cooking water. Drop the pasta into the pan and gently mix.
    Pasta alla gricia with fava beans - pasta in the pan
  • Over medium to high heat, add a ladleful of the cooking water and all the fava beans and pecorino cream. Gently mix until the water is absorbed and the pasta is perfectly cooked. Time to serve and…
    Pasta alla gricia with fava beans - adding the fava beans cream
  • enjoy your first Pasta alla gricia with fava beans, like you were in Rome! 🙂 Buon appetito
    Pasta alla gricia with fava beans


Some of the links above are affiliate links. This means that, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase you will help this blog grow. I only promote affiliate programs that I believe in, and products I know about, with the aim to help you in your choices.

Buon appetito!

You Might Also Like

No Comments

Leave a Reply

Recipe Rating