(Not vegetarian: Contains meat)

Ahhh, fava beans are in season, and they are de-LISH-us. There's a lot of waste and a lot of work involved with these things -- rip off and throw away the outer pod, then painstakingly trim the tough skin from every individual bean, reducing a huge bag of produce down to a small bowl of tender, flavorful green beans before you even start to cook. It's still worth it.

We did them in the Roman tradition, producing a dish so hearty and meaty that it could really have served as the main course. The following is a fairly direct translation of the procedure from Marcella Hazan's Classic Italian Cookbook.

Remove 1 1/2 pounds of fava beans from their pods and trim the tough skins; set aside.

Dice enough onions to make about 1/3 cup, and whack a similar amount of pancetta into small dice.

Heat a very small amount of olive oil in a small pan (you don't need much, as the pancetta will give off all the fat you need), and sautee the pancetta until it starts to turn brown and crisp. Add the onions and continue sauteeing until they're well browned. Stir in the prepared fava beans, turn once or twice; add salt and pepper to taste and about 1/3 cup water, stir, and cover. Simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes or until the beans are just done. Remove cover, turn up heat, and boil off any excess liquid. Serve.