Cavatelli with fresh fava beans & ramp pesto

Wild ramps make the best pesto… ever!

Ramp pesto is pretty special… after all, you can only enjoy it when ramps are in season, and that’s only for a few short weeks every spring. So this recipe had to be special, too… highlighting the delicious pesto as much as possible. And for that, the recipe needed to be unfussy, yet I wanted it to be totally luxurious.

So I chose to toss the pesto with Cavatelli and fresh fava beans. The Cavatelli is the ideal pasta shape for the sauce – the grooves scoop up the pesto to make every bite as flavorful as can be, while the petite pasta doesn’t overwhelm the sauce. As for the fresh fava, their wonderful greenness is a perfect complement to the pesto. Plus they make the dish lighter and more nutritious.

I must say that my goal was achieved… every forkful of this pasta is a delight.

Ramps not in season? Try these pestos

Ramp pesto

Wine Pairing: Viognier with cavatelli & ramp pesto

A Viognier, with its luscious mouthfeel and blossomy aromas, is perfect for this pasta. The full-bodied wine works well with the richness of the pesto, while its honeysuckle and herbal flavors are a natural match to the delicately flavored ramps and fava beans.

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Cavatelli with fresh fava beans & ramp pesto


4 servings

Prep time

45 minutes (including pesto)

Cooking time

20 minutes

Wine pairing



  • For the fava beans
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt for blanching the fava beans

  • 2 lbs (905 g) fava bean pods – shelled (2 cups shelled fava beans)

  • For the pasta
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt for the pasta water

  • 12 oz (340 g) Cavatelli (Gemelli or Orecchiette are good substitutes)

  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt

  • 1 recipe ramp pesto, basil pesto or arugula pesto

  • 1/4 cup reserved pasta water

  • finely grated Reggiano Parmesan


  • Fill a bowl with cold water and several ice cubes and set aside. Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the salt and fava beans, pushing them down so that they are submerged in the boiling water. Boil for 2 minutes if the beans are small, or up to 4 minutes for large beans. Drain and transfer to the ice-water bath. Once cooled, remove the outer skin of each bean and set aside.
  • Cook’s note: The fava beans can be prepared up to 1 day ahead and refrigerated until ready to use.
  • Bring 6 quarts of water to a boil. When the water is boiling, add the salt and pasta. Boil pasta until al dente and drain, reserving 1/4 cup of the water. Transfer the cooked pasta to a large bowl. Add the fava beans and salt and stir until well blended. Add the pesto and a splash of the reserved cooking water. Stir again until well blended and add more reserved water if needed. Spoon into pasta bowls, garnish with the Parmesan and serve.
Cavatelli with fresh fava beans and ramp pesto


  1. Loretta Powell

    Used with cilantro pesto since that is what I had in my garden. Will also use with my parley.
    Thanks, Loretta

  2. As much as I love traditional basil pesto, wild garlic one is for sure my top favourite. This looks so fresh, flavourful and tasty.

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