Fava beans

Does this happen to you?

I think I know a bit about Italian cooking. I have read on the history of Italian cooking, own many cookbooks, I cook Italian food all the time, and never had I heard about Garmugia.

Until last month. Then I saw five different recipes for Garmugia in five different cookbooks or magazines. I thought it must be a sign and i felt compelled to try it.

This is a classic spring recipe, and you will easily recognize spring ingredients like fava beans, peas, asparagus and artichokes. According to the Silver Spoon, this recipe originated in the seventeenth century, somewhere near Lucca, in Tuscany. Because meat is an important ingredient in the recipe, it was probably a dish of the middle or upper classes, not part of la Cucina Povera. The name apparently comes from ”the buds of spring”, buds being germogli in Italian.

Believe it or not, it took me a month to find fresh fava beans in Ottawa, and this is why I am posting a spring recipe in summer. Don’t worry, I finally found fresh fava beans… in Montreal, at Marché Jean Talon.

Though Garmugia is classified as a soup, it is filled with wholesome ingredients and it is quite filling. It was a great warm summer supper for us and we enjoyed it very much.

You can use pancetta instead of the sausage if you feel like it. If trimming artichokes is not your thing, then use a good quality canned artichoke or even better, frozen artichokes. Add them only toward the end if you do this.

Fava beans and onions

Tuscan beef and vegetable soup


1/4 cup olive oil
1 mild Italian sausage, casing removed OR 50 g pancetta
3 to 5 spring onions, finely sliced
100 g extra-lean ground beef or veal
1 cup shelled fava beans (about one pound with pods), membrane removed
1 cup green peas (fresh or frozen)
1 bunch asparagus, tough stems removed, cut in one inch lengths
4 artichokes, trimmed and thinly sliced
3 cups chicken or beef broth
1 slice of bread per person
parmesan, for serving
extra-virgin olive oil, for serving
salt and pepper to taste



1. Heat the oil over medium-low heat and cook the sausage or pancetta with the onions until the meat is cooked through and the onions are soft.

2. Add the ground beef and cook until the beef has lost its raw appearance, about 5 minutes.

3. Add the fava beans, asparagus, artichokes and the broth, cover partially, bring to boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until the vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes. If using fresh peas, add them 10 minutes before the end of cooking. If using frozen peas, add them at the very end.

4. To serve, put one slice of toasted bread in a bowl, serve the vegetables on top along with a bit of the broth, drizzle your best olive oil on top and garnish with parmesan.


6 replies »

  1. Huh! I’ve never heard this name, or seen a recipe for it Fascinating! It’s impossible to know everything about cooking – that’s why I love reading blogs every day! Thanks!


    • I know! I only read about it one month ago, but it has become one of my favourites. I won’t only make this in spring, believe me!


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