Vignarola is a celebration of spring and tastes just like spring in a dish. Prepare it at that magical moment when winter turns to spring and artichokes are still in season but you’re heralding the arrival of fresh spring peas and fava beans.
Make this dish vegetarian or add some umami-rich pancetta or guanciale to the dish; I love it both ways! Still others add mentuccia to the dish, a wild Roman mint that grows all over the fields in Lazio.
This dish is quintessentially Roman although lots of other areas of Italy now make it.
There are lots of interpretations on the origin of the Vignarola recipe name. Some say that Vignarola comes from the typical lunch farmers used to have following the cultivation of their vineyards. Others say it comes from the word vignaroli, the Roman dialect name for fruit and vegetable vendors.
All the ingredients are seasonal and fresh so you don’t want to overcook them.
Serve Vignarola on its own as a vegetable side dish, use it as a topping for pasta dishes, or on bruschetta. I love it served with ricotta stuffed ravioli.
Not everyone has access to fresh artichokes, fava beans and spring peas so if you find yourself in that unenviable situation you can still make Vignarola with frozen veggies. Yes, it’s not quite the same thing at all but still…
2 green onions cut into half inch pieces
2 globe artichokes, cleaned
200 g of lattuga romana (Romaine lettuce)
300 g fresh spring peas, shelled
300 g fresh fava beans, shelled
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
50 g of pancetta or guanciale, optional
Salt and pepper to taste
Cut the green onions into half inch pieces.
Sauté the onions in the olive oil over low flame until translucent and tender.
While the onions are cooking cut the lettuce into thin strips width-wise.
Clean artichokes by removing the tough outer leaves and paring the outer layer of the stem.
Cut off the top 1/4 to 1/3 of the artichoke.
Remove the beard with a melon baller.
Cut the artichokes into quarters and cut each quarter into two or three wedges.
Place in acidulated water made from lemon juice and water.
Add the lettuce and artichokes to the onions, cover and cook over a low flame for about 10 minutes.
Add water by the tablespoonful as needed to keep the vegetables from overcooking and burning.
Add the fava beans and peas.
Cover and cook over a low flame for about 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are just tender.
Continue to add water by the tablespoonful while cooking, as needed.
Serve Vignarola hot or at room temperature. It’s delicious on its own or as a topping for bruschetta or on pasta.
- 2 green onions cut into half inch pieces
- 2 globe artichokes cleaned
- 200 g of lattuga romana Romaine lettuce
- 300 g fresh peas Shelled
- 300 g fresh fava beans Shelled
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 50 g of pancetta or Guanciale Optional
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Cut the green onions into half inch pieces.
- Sauté the onions in the olive oil over low flame until translucent and tender.
- While the onions are cooking cut the lettuce into thin strips width-wise.
- Clean the artichokes by pulling off the tough outer leaves and paring away the outer layer of the stem.
- Cut off the top 1/4 to 1/3 of the artichoke.
- Remove the inner beard using a melon baller, then place in acidulated water (juice of two lemons + 3 cups water).
- Cut the artichokes into quarters and cut each quarter into three wedges, then return to the acidulated water.
- Add the lettuce and artichokes to the onions, Cover and cook over low flame for about 10 minutes.
- Add water by the tablespoon full as needed to keep the vegetables from overcooking and burning.
- Add the fava beans and peas.
- Cover and cook over low flame for about 20 minutes or until all the vegetables are just tender.
- Continue to add water by the tablespoonful while cooking, as needed.
- Serve vignarola hot or at room temperature. It’s delicious on its own or as a topping for bruschetta or on pasta.
Some other great spring recipes you’ll love are Spring Ravioli: Stinging Nettle and Ricotta Filling with Spring Peas, Fava Beans & Asparagus, two wonderful soups: Pioppino mushroom soup with pancetta, spring peas, and green onions, and this delicious soup: Creamy Asparagus Soup with Poached Eggs.
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