The Inside Story from Italian Wine Merchants

From the IWM Kitchens: Panelle de Fave

Posted on | September 30, 2015 | Written by IWM Staff | No Comments

IMG_20141202_163205Eaten in many parts of Italy, Panelle de Fave goes by different names in different regions. It’s Panelle around Sicily, Panissa in Liguria, Calentita around Gibraltar, and likely other names in other places. No matter what you call it, this dish starts as a smooth batter of ground fava beans and water that is fried and enjoyed as finger food. It’s delicious and a great accompaniment to wine, perfect as an appetizer or as an accompaniment to soup, salad or stew.

IMG_20141202_162118IWM’s own Chef Mike Marcelli likes to change the base ingredients depending on the season; this past spring was chickpea, and for the winter he’s thinking of trying Cicerechi beans from Abruzzo! Currently he’s using fava flour. Not finding one he liked, Mike sourced good Haba (dried whole fava beans) and put them in the blender until very fine. He did warn that making your own fava flour in a blender will make a racket, but the end result is a flour that has actual, serious fava flavor! Mike says that making your own fava flour is “not unlike coffee from fresh ground whole beans versus that of pre ground.”


300 gr fava flour

1 liter of water


oil (for greasing the pan)

lemon juice


IMG_20141202_164522After making your own fava flour (or using one you already like), prepare 1 liter boiling water, seasoned with a pinch of salt. Measure out and sift 300gr fava flour. Slowly pour the flour into the boiling water while whisking vigorously, just as you would when making polenta. Drop the flame to low and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the raw flour taste is gone and the mixture shows a smooth consistency (about 10 minutes). Pour the batter out onto an oiled plate and let cool. Once cold, turn out onto a cutting board and cut into small pieces. Fry in oil at 375°F until golden. Season with salt, lemon juice and parsley for a fantastic finish!

IMG_20141202_192137The end to a chilly perfect day,  panelle de fave, a nice green salad, and a nicely chilled glass of white wine, preferably from one of IWM classic producers. You might try Enrico Fossi 2000 Terrantica, Sartarelli 2014 Verdicchio Castelli dei Jesi Classico, or Domaine Barat 2011 Chablis!



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