A typically Roman dish, the pecorino cheese and fava bean crostini is a simple recipe that still retains the authentic flavors of the Italian countryside today. The sweet taste of raw fava beans balances the delicate sapid quality of slightly unaged pecorino cheese, enhanced by the flavors of toasted bread, in a food combination that has seduced food lovers for over 2000 years.
The Pecorino Romano is a cheese made of sheep milk that dates back to the Roman Empire and its preparation has been the same for centuries. Roman traditions have always celebrated the coming of spring on May 1st with a social lunch in the country that included pecorino and fava bean crostini on the menu.
This massive feast involved the whole city and aimed to wish a prosperous and happy summer to all. Today, this tasty little dish is still well-loved throughout Italy thanks to its delicate and simple flavor.
The crostini with fava beans and pecorino cheese is a perfect finger food to accompany cocktail hours. To make it, a slightly unaged pecorino cheese will give it a sweet aroma, different from the spiciness of aged pecorino cheese.
To start making the crostini with fava beans and pecorino cheese, start by slicing the homemade bread into little pieces (2 cm high). Toast the bread on both sides, and in the meantime dice the spring onions and season them with olive oil and a pinch of salt.
Shell the fava beans and peel the external skin off before uniting and mixing them to the onions. Season the bread slices with a little olive oil and cover them with the fava beans and spring onions. Cut the Pecorino Romano in flakes and sprinkle it over the fava beans.
In Ancient Rome, fava beans were associated with Flora, the goddess of plants, nature and springtime. Eating fava beans was believed to be a propitiatory rite that could help secure the best sowing time possible.
And still today in Italy, crostini with fava beans and pecorino cheese are associated with social events and they are usually made for local summer village festivals in different varieties, including one with a cream of crushed fava beans, with salad and white wine vinegar.