Orecchiette asparagi e fave, al forno

Baked pasta with asparagus and fava beans   Our original home cooking

Asparagus and fava beans are typical of spring and they can be combined together with great results to make delicious vegetarian recipes like this one I'm about to show you. It was born quite by chance in my kitchen a few days ago. I had prepared pasta sauce with fava beans and asparagus to season orecchiette but its flavor did not convince me. It may happen, and so I thought to complete the cooking in the oven after adding mozzarella to make a more inviting dish. Try it .... it tastes fantastic! :))

Italian baked pasta with Apulian orecchiette dressed with asparagus and broad bean sauce
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Italian baked orecchiette

Ingredients / Serves 8

  • 500g (1.1 pounds) fresh orecchiette
  • 500g (1.1 pounds) fresh asparagus
  • 1.5kg (3.3 pounds) fava beans in the pod
  • 1 400g (14 ounces) can peeled tomatoes
  • 250g (8 3/4 ounces) leek
  • 60g (2.1 ounces) shallot
  • 250g (8 3/4 ounces) mozzarella cheese
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • Some sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • A bunch fresh chives
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt
  • Time:
    preparation: 45 minutes
    plus cooling time

    cooking: 70 minutes
    total time: 1 hour 55 minutes
  • Difficulty:
    easy recipe
  • How many calories in a serving?
    Calories: 360 (kcal) 18 % GDA (*)- 1506 (kJ)
    Protein: 17.3 (g) 35 % GDA
    Total fat: 12.3 (g) 18 % GDA
    Total carbohydrate: 45.4 (g) 17 % GDA
    Sugars: 7.7 (g) 9 % GDA

Look at infographic of nutrition facts

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Recipe for baked pasta with asparagus and fava beans

Preparation and cooking

Baked Apulian orecchiette dressed with asparagus and broad bean sauce before adding mozzarella
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Before adding mozzarella
  • - Prepare fava beans.
    Shell fava beans and blanch in hot water, few minutes. Time depends on fava bean size. If small, you need a couple of minute. If larger, 5 minutes.
    Drain well and let them cool. Then remove their skin.
    Put them apart.
  • - Prepare asparagus.
    Cut off the end of their stalk, often hard and woody.
    If big, you need to peel them.
    Wash and pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper.
    Slice them and put apart their tips.
  • - Prepare all other ingredients.
    Clean and chop leek.
    Clean and chop shallot.
    Mash canned tomatoes with a fork on a plate.
    Clean and wash chives and parsley, pat dry with absorbent kitchen paper and put apart.
  • - Prepare pasta sauce.
    Place olive oil, shallot, leek and bay leaf in a non-stick frying pan. Let all fry slightly on very low heat, stirring frequently.
    Add asparagus too, tips excluded.
    Let all flavor, stirring often, on very low heat.
    Then add mashed tomatoes together with their preserving liquid.
    Season to taste with salt and continue cooking, half-covered, for other 10 minutes.
    Remember to add asparagus tips after 5 minutes.
    Just before turning off the stove, add fava beans and cut in parsley and chives.
    Stir very well.
    Distribute a ladle of this pasta sauce on the bottom of a large (32 x 22cm - 12.5 x 8.7in) lasagna pan.
  • - Meanwhile ...
    ... cook orecchiette in abundant salt water following instructions on the package but remember to drain them 2 minutes before suggested time.
    Transfer drained orecchiette into the pan with asparagus and fava bean sauce.
  • - The last step.
    Preheat oven to 180°C (350°F).
    Grate mozzarella cheese with large hole grater.
    Take half the mozzarella and stir in your dressed orecchiette.
    Then transfer into lasagna pan, level pasta surface and bake, 15 minutes.

Just before serving

  • - Remove lasagna pan from the oven.
    Spread remaining mozzarella on the top and bake until cheese melts, about 5 minutes.
  • - Serve baked pasta in inidividual portions.



  • - Choose good-quality orecchiette or short pasta you prefer and be careful not to overcook it.
  • - Replace shallot with garlic, if you prefer.
    Add hot red chili pepper, if liked.
  • - This is a pasta dish you can prepare in advance. Bake the first 15 minutes and then complete cooking just before serving, after sprinkling remaining mozzarella.

Menu planning

  • - Baked orecchiette with asparagus and fava bean sauce is a traditional vegetarian dish for spring if you want to use fresh vegetables. If you use frozen fava beans and asparagus, you can do it all year round.
  • - Prepare this baked pasta dish for your Sunday lunch or a get-together, Italy-style.

Healthy eating

  • - Fiber per serving: 6.4 grams.
  • - If you want, you can prepare this recipe as one-plate meal. In this case it serves 6 and here are its nutrtion facts!
    energy: 480 kcal
    protein: 23.1 grams
    total fat: 16.4 grams
    carbo: 60.5 grams
    sugar: 10.3 grams
    fiber: 8.6 grams


What's the right wine for " Baked pasta with asparagus and fava beans "?

My husband and I matched a white Lison Pramaggiore (formerly Tocai) that we had at home and we and our guests enjoyed it a lot. In any case, a white, still wine is ideal. Ultimately, a lot of people do not disdain even a young red bubbly wine to pair to asparagus. Obviously it all depends on personal taste and other dishes on your menu.