Polenta

Polenta topped with rapini:The rapini stalks are served whole over the polenta. For a richer polenta, stir in 4 ounces mascarpone and 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan. (Bill Hogan/Chicago Tribune)

1 slice bacon

1 bay leaf

4 ounces chicken livers

4 ounces sopressa or other top-quality salami

4 anchovy fillets

1 handful flat-leaf parsley (or a sprig of sage), plus more for serving

1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling

1 clove garlic

Zest of 1 lemon plus 2 to 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

3/4 teaspoon salt

Freshly ground pepper

3/4 cup wine vinegar (red or white)

1 ounce fresh breadcrumbs, about 1/3 cup

Soft polenta or crusty bread

1. Rinse the soaked beans; heat to a boil in a saucepan of water with the bacon and bay leaf. Reduce heat to a simmer; simmer until tender, about 1 hour. Add salt to taste toward the end of cooking time. Alternatively, use canned fava beans; rinse them before using.

2. Finely chop the chicken livers, salami, anchovies and parsley or sage together on a board.

3. Put 1/4 cup olive oil in a skillet; add the garlic. Cook over low-medium heat. Discard the garlic when it starts to brown. Increase the heat; add the chopped ingredients and lemon zest. Add salt and pepper to taste; cook 5 minutes. Add the lemon juice, wine vinegar and breadcrumbs. Cook over low heat, stirring from time to time, until the sauce turns velvety, 20 minutes.

4. Pour the sauce over the beans in a serving bowl. Stir well; drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with more parsley. Allow to stand for a few minutes before serving; serve in dishes over polenta or with crusty bread.

Nutrition information:
Per serving: 261 calories, 21 g fat, 4 g saturated fat, 120 mg cholesterol, 7 g carbohydrates, 12 g protein, 907 mg sodium, 1 g fiber.