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Yes, I definitely wrote down the words, “nun” and “stripper” right next each other.  One of the few things I picked up after 10 years of Catholic school is that I should probably never write the words “nun” and “stripper” next to each other, but alas Italy’s ex Prime Minister has allowed me such delights.

Ex Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi is currently on trial for paying for sex from an underage dancer, and for also using his power to have her released from jail for stealing (1). Apparently he had several “bunga bunga” themed parties (I’m not really sure what that means but I’ll use my imagination) and at one of these he had strippers dressing as nuns.  To add to the disgusting factor of this situation, the ex-PM is 75 years old, so this is like your grandpa doing these things. In addition, he’s facing fraud charges, so beyond perversion he’s racked up some other crimes (2).  One of the more scary things is that Berlusconi, a billionaire businessman turned politician, was involved in Italian politics for almost 2 decades before he submitted his resignation.  His reign is second only to Mussolini.

Berlusconi owns clothing stores, tv channels, a supermarket chain, and soccer team. He was more famous for his elaborate parties and showboat style, than his politics. (3). He has wealth galore, and in my opinion his election to Prime Minister was just another way to further his interests, and side step laws.  I’m very interested to see what other corruption tidbits will come forward as his trial proceeds; however, I think it will be very hard to top nun strippers.

In celebration of Italy keeping us on our toes politically, I’ve decided to impart how to prepare fava beans. In Italy, fava beans are traditional on St. Joseph’s day which is on March 19th.  Also fava beans are in season right now, so you can go to your grocery store or farmers’ market immediately after you read my recipe.

To cook fresh favas, you’ll need to remove the beans from their shells, and then skin them, so yes, fava beans involve double peeling. However, this goes pretty quickly, especially if you have a small child around that wants to be helpful. Blanch the shelled beans in boiling water for a minute, remove them from the water and dunk them into a bowl of water with ice.  Then, slit the bean’s waxy, filmy skin and slide it off with a small pinch.

Now what to do with your prepared favas? Throw them into a delicious springtime salad, with some asparagus.  Or maybe use them into a risotto or pasta.  Some people like to mash them into a paste to make a fava bean dip. Or if you’re feeling really lazy just saute them with butter and garlic and eat them straight.

Obviously the possibilities are endless when it comes to your fresh fava beans, but their season is oh so short, so take advantage of them! What’s your favorite seasonal fruit or veggie to take advantage of?

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