Ancora una storia di pesto – Tacconi finti con pesto di rucola-pistacchi e asparagi


I have been thinking about this recipe for a while that my grandmother used to make when I was a child, called tacconi. I loved those so much, because they’re always remained a little crunchy and I have always loved pasta that remains al dente, even more al dente than it should be. I would never eat overcooked pasta. My grandmother used to make a ton of those tacconi on Sunday and distribute them between my parents and I and my oncle and kids (since we all lived in the same house, different floors). That was the Sunday treat.

Tacconi are some rustic pasta from Marche region made with half fava bean flour and half regular flour. They’re cut thick and long and are served with a garlic tomato sauce.

I could not find just 100% fava bean flour, so the closest I could get is a mixture of half chick pea, half fava bean flour. Instead of white flour, I used whole wheat flour, that’s why those tacconi have a deep brownish hearty color.

Now the original tacconi have a different shape too, they look like thick spaghetti, not short like those gnocchi shape little nuggets. Actually, I somehow reproduced the shape of gnocchi sardi, called malloreddus. Obviously this dish is somehow a result of two Italian cuisines, the Sardinian  and the Marchiggiana…then if you think that pesto is from Genoa, then it combines three cuisines.

As for the pesto, rucola pesto is something I really love, the bitterness of wild rucola mixed with parmesan and pistacchios make a wonderful combination. The asparagus add another green and delicate touch.

Ingredients for 4

For the pasta

  • 1/2 cup fava bean flour (or mixed chick pea and fava bean flours if just fava bean not available)
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • water

For the pesto

  • 2 cups of wild rucola
  • 3 tbs pistacchios
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 tbs parmigiano reggiano
  • 4 tbs olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 bunch asparagus


Start preparing the pesto. Mix all ingredients in a mixer and mix until medium consistency, you don’t want to pesto to be too thin, but with some grainy texture, and feel the pistachios.

Cut asparagus in about 1 inch length and cook in boiling water for about 5 minutes or until cooked but still firm.

For the tacconi, mix both flours together in a bowl and add enough water to make a dough that is not sticky or soft but rather thick and dense. Remove from the bowl, and transfer to a well-floured surface, add flour if necessary. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes.

Let rest in a plastic wrap for about 30 minutes.

Cut the dough in about 2 or three pieces and roll dough into a 1/8 inch cylinder, and cut into 1/4 inch pieces. Roll each piece pressing with your thomb on a gnocchi board or a fork to give it some ridges. Repeat process with all the dough.

Bring water to a boil, add salt. Transfer the tacconi and cook for about 6-7 minutes.

Drain, transfer to a bowl, add pesto and asparagus. Mix well but carefully not to break tacconi nor asparagus.