Vignarola is a stew of the vegetables that grow around Rome at the end of Spring, beginning of Summer. I was reminded of this dish by Jo’s Frascati Cooking That’s Amore. Vignarola can be a contorno (side dish), minestra (hearty soup, with spelt and orzo) or served with pasta like Jo did in her Lasagna Vignarola. The dish can be enriched with guanciale, pancetta, or salsiccia, but I’m keeping it vegan here. Typical vegetables are peas, fava beans, artichokes, asparagus, and Romaine lettuce, but at least three of them would do. The vegetables are supposed to be cooked al dente, so not raw and not mushy.
For 5-6 servings as a contorno
- 500 grams (1.1 lbs) fava beans in the pod
- 500 grams (1.1 lbs) peas in the pod
- 1 head of Romaine lettuce
- 200 grams (7 oz) green asparagus
- 1 large or 2 medium artichokes
- 2 spring onions with white bulbs
- 1 red chili pepper
- 80 ml (1/3 cup) dry white wine
- extra virgin olive oil
Take the fava beans out of their pods and discard the pods.
Parboil the fava beans 2 minutes in boiling water.
After 2 minutes, take the fava beans out and plunge in cold water to stop the cooking.
Remove the outer skin of the fava beans and discard, so only the tender green inside remains. (You can skip parboiling and skinning the fava beans if you like. It is less work that way but I don’t like the bitter flavor.)
Shell the peas and discard the pods.
Slice the Romaine lettuce into strips and wash and dry them.
Remove the tough fibrous end of the asparagus and discard. Cut off the tops and chop the stalks.
Clean the artichokes and slice them. Slice the spring onions (white bulb part only) and the chili pepper.
Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a casserole and add the spring onion.
Stir for a couple of minutes over medium heat, then add the chili pepper and stir for another minute.
When the onion and chili is slightly golden…
…add the artichokes. Stir for 4 minutes over medium heat.
Then add the peas and stir for another 4 minutes. If you did not skin the fava beans, you should add them now too.
Add the asparagus and stir for a coule of minutes.
Add the romaine lettuce and the shelled fava beans.
Stir to mix everything.
Add the white wine.
Cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
Add salt to taste.
Turn off the heat and drizzle with good quality extra virgin olive oil. The Vignarola is now ready to be served.
Spaghetti with squid is usually made with tomatoes, but it can also be made in bianco.