The term " maccu " indicates a "coarse dish of shelled broad beans", cooked in water and reduced to a paste.
The broad bean is widespread in every part of the island because it constitutes an alternative culture to wheat, that is, it is sown in the wheat fields the year in which the land is left to rest to enrich the soil with nitrogen. “ U Maccu ” is one of the most famous peasant soups. Meaning similar to the Italian macco, later and generically extended to "overcooked soup" and "mush".
Boiled broad bean soup or polenta is an ancient food. It is connected to the "plus fabata" remembered by Pliny as a sacred dish.
In Sicily the cultivation of broad bean (vicia faba) has an ancient tradition. Unlike the Romans who consumed broad beans only on the occasion of funeral rites, the Sicilians have always made extensive use of broad beans in their diet, both dry and in their green state .
The Romans made great use of it, so much so that one of the "gentes", the most important families in the history of Rome, the Fabi, took their name from the bean (faba). For Pythagoras, broad beans were: "food of the dead", a means of contacting the afterlife. Macco has traditionally been a poor man's food: dried broad beans left overnight in a pan in lightly salted water and, after cooking, bruised with a fork to reduce them to a puree. Just add a drizzle of oil and eat it.
In the frequent conditions of poverty to which the popular classes were subjected, macco was sometimes the main dish of many families for morning and evening. Until a few decades ago, the owners gave agricultural workers a bowl of it as the main meal of the day and only exceptionally, for example during threshing, were they fed the pasta.
“U maccu” is a fragrant and delicate velouté of stewed broad beans, very popular among the islanders and which has been handed down to the present day. The resulting puree is flavored with wild fennel seeds and flavored with extra virgin olive oil. olive.
Maccu is a dish considered suitable for strong people . If you want to serve a traditional first course, prepare the very Sicilian "Maccu", but think about it in time because the dried and hulled broad beans must be soaked in water before being cooked, for at least twelve hours. Remember that cooking in an earthenware pot it is the best because the beans must cook over a low heat for at least three to four hours.
The whole island has its variations. characteristic is that of Raffadali, it is no coincidence that this town is also called "u paisi du maccu", where it is preserved as a traditional food and where it is still widely used today.
Over time, maccu has lost the characteristics of a dish linked to particular moments and has become, together with other types of soups, an excellent "single dish" for the poorer classes and an appetizing first course for the wealthier ones. In the century XV there was a special container for its preparation "ad opus mirandi maccum".
A peculiar characteristic of the maccu is due to the fact that, once cooled, it can be preserved covered with a thin layer of oil to be consumed later cut into slices. The cooled puree can also be eaten fried in extra virgin olive oil.
Regarding the preservation of macco in oil, the saying "livari l'ogliu du maccu" (remove the oil from the maccu) is still in use, an action that indicates a particular skill in manual activities. It is prepared in Syracuse not with dried broad beans but with fresh green ones, on the occasion of the feast of San Giuseppe and therefore in the Syracuse area and also in the province of Ragusa it is called San Giuseppe soup.
The broad bean maccu can be enriched not only with "u finuccheddu sarvaggiu" ( https://www.emporiosicilia.it/dotto/crema-di-finocchietto-selvatico-i-peccatucci-di-mamma-andrea/ ), but also with “a cocuzza baffa”, “i Giriteddi Servaggi” and sometimes even with spinach. You can also add pieces of salted tomato and pepper.
For "u maccu" to be a complete dish you need to add pasta which can be "spaettu tagghiatu", "pasta maritata", or better yet "tagghiarini di pasta frisca" ( https://www.emporiosicilia.it/prodotti/spaghetti -sicilians-of-perciasacchi-caradonna/ )
Do you want to prepare macco at home? Do it with our 100% Sicilian broad beans !