By Ippolita Douglas Scotti:
In Tuscany, the term baccello means "fava bean." These delicious beans grow in the springtime and are a perfect combination with Marzolino, a fresh pecorino cheese with an unique taste.
Marzolino is one of the most prestigious Tuscan cheeses, and it's roots date back to the Etruscans and their tradition of sheep breeding.
Sheep cheese, like the pecorino, had a flourishing trade in Roman times, as reported by Pliny the Elder. The cacio marzolin (the cheese of March) was given its name because it was a typical spring production, and it is documented as being served on the tables of popes and princes throughout Italian history.
In the Renaissance, it was considered the best cheese made in Tuscany.
Here is the very simple, delicious, and fresh Tuscan recipe. Fresh fava beans and cheese—the true flavor of Tuscan springtime.
Marzolino e Baccelli
1 pound of fresh fava beans
½ pound of fresh pecorino
Remove the seeds from the bean pods and cut fresh sheep cheese into cubes.
Arrange everything on a nice serving tray and serve with a dust of salt and pepper and a good bottle of hearty red Chianti wine.
* Ask your cheesemonger for a "young Pecorino."