FAVA BEANS, POTATOES AND PECORINO AU GRATIN or FAVE, PATATE E PECORINO GRATINATE

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Shelling beans and peas is one of those ungrateful jobs where you sit and work and work but in the end all you have left is at its best a 1/5 of what you started off with. Fava beans is even worse because often you need to peel of the skin of the beans as well and then you end up with even less. But there is also a certain feeling of reconciliation in doing it, there is time for thinking and there’s something comforting about the moves that you have to do, the regularity of shelling makes me feel safe in the way you do as a child at least for a moment. Sitting outdoors in the sun with a heap of beans can actually be one those magic moments that make life worth living.

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FAVA BEANS, POTATOES AND PECORINO AU GRATIN or FAVE, PATATE E PECORINO GRATINATE

Fresh fava beans (also called broad beans or butter beans)
Potatoes
Pecorino or some other type of hard goat’s cheese
A little water
Salt
Olive oil

– Shell the beans and if they are big you will need to peel the skin off as well. I actually peeled them all because I wanted a really tender gratin.
– Peel the potatoes and slice them really thinly. Do the same with the cheese.
– Pour a little olive oil in the bottom of an oven-proof dish and start with a layer of potato slices, add fava beans and then a layer of pecorino. Go on like this until you have filled the dish or the beans are finished. The last two layers have to be potatoes with cheese on top. I added a little bit of salt on each potato layer but be careful because the cheese is very salt.
– Add some water, around a 1/3 of the height of it all and bake in a preheated oven (180°C/356°F) until soft. 45-60 minutes but it depends on how many layers there are, sometimes it’s better to use a wide dish and make 3-4 layers only. Or make them in smaller ramekins, one for each person.
– Serve!

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