Mary Ann Esposito’s Fava Bean and Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese Cylinders

Fava beans, both fresh and dried, are a Mediterranean staple and have been for centuries. And even though they are associated with humble cooking, they take on gourmet significance when wrapped in easy-to-make Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese cylinders that make a great presentation.

Fava Bean and Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Cylinders
Timballini di Fave e Parmigiano Reggiano

Fava Bean and Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Cylinders
Fava Bean and Parmigiano Reggiano Cheese Cylinders
Photo by John Hession

(Makes 6 servings)



  1. Heat nonstick medium size sauté pan.
  2. Spread ½ cup of cheese in pan to form rectangular strip that is 2 inches wide and 6 inches long. Allow cheese strip to melt, then carefully remove from pan and wrap strip around glass and allow it to cool. Make five more and set aside.
  3. Whisk olive oil and vinegar together. Add garlic, shallot, and tarragon and whisk again. Season with salt and pepper (to taste) and set aside. (Can be made ahead of time and refrigerated overnight. Bring to room temperature to use.)
  4. Bring pot of water to boil and add 1 teaspoon of salt. Add fava beans and cook them until you can easily slip off outer skin. Drain and transfer to bowl. When cool enough to handle, slip off outer pale green skin to reveal a bright green bean beneath.
  5. Add fava beans and celery to olive oil mixture and toss well. Allow to marinate for 30 minutes.
When ready to serve, place one of each of the six cylinders of Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese on each of 6 individual salad plates.
Carefully divide and fill center of each cylinder with some of fava bean mixture. Top each one with few shavings of cheese.
Any leftover fava bean mixture can be scattered around each plate. Serve at room temperature.

Reprinted from Ciao Italia Family Classics: More than 200 Treasured Recipes from Three Generations of Italian Cooks by Mary Ann Esposito. Published by St. Martin’s Press. Copyright © Mary Ann Esposito. Photograph by John Hession.See the March/April 2014 issue for more recipes from Mary Ann Esposito.