Below is a recipe for Vignarola, a spring stew of artichoke, lettuce, fava beans, and peas, from Katie Parla and Kristina Gill’s new cookbook “Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors & Forgotten Recipes From an Ancient City” (Clarkson Potter, $30).
Vignarola (Artichoke, Peas, Fava, and Lettuce Stew)
4 to 6 as a starter or side dish
- 1 1/2 cups shelled fava beans (from about 2 pounds in pods)
- ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more as needed
- 3 1/2 ounces Guanciale or pancetta, diced
- 2 garlic cloves, smashed
- 4 tender young globe artichokes, cleaned and quartered
- Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 6 sprigs fresh mint
- 1/2 cup dry white wine
- Water or Vegetable Broth (recipe follows)
- 1 1/2 cups fresh or frozen shelled peas (from about 2 pounds in pods)
- 4 spring onions or scallions (white parts only), thinly sliced
- 1 small head romaine lettuce, shredded crosswise into 1/2-inch strips (4 cups)
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon; optional)
Fill a medium bowl with ice and water. Bring a medium pot of water to a boil over high heat. Blanch the fava beans in the boiling water for 1 minute, in batches, if necessary, to avoid overcrowding. Drain and immediately plunge them into the ice water bath. Remove and discard the bitter skins by squeezing each fava bean gently between your fingers. Small fava beans can be left whole. Set aside.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over low heat. When the oil begins to shimmer, add the guanciale. Cook until the fat turns translucent, then add the garlic. Cook until just fragrant, then immediately drain the artichokes and add them to the pan along with a generous pinch of salt, pepper, and half the mint, stirring to coat.
Increase the heat to high and add the wine. Simmer until the alcohol aroma dissipates, about a minute, then add enough water or broth to cover the artichokes halfway. Cook until the artichokes begin to soften, 10 to 12 minutes, then add the peas, fava beans, and spring onions. Season again with salt and pepper. Continue to cook until the peas are soft, about 10 minutes, stirring frequently, adding more vegetable broth or water as needed to keep the vegetables in a bit of simmering liquid.
Add the lettuce, stir to combine, and cook for 5 minutes more, or until all the components are fully cooked and tender. Remove the pot from the heat, season the stew with lemon juice, if desired, and garnish with the remaining mint. Serve warm or room temperature, or even the following day.
Brodo Vegetale (Vegetable Broth)
Makes 1 quart
- 2 cups empty pea pods
- 4 artichoke stems
- 4 spring onions or scallions (green parts only)
Set aside the pea pods, artichoke stems, and the green stalks from the spring onions from the Vignarola. Place in a medium pot and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil over medium heat, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, then drain. No need to season with salt or pepper.
(Reprinted from “Tasting Rome: Fresh Flavors and Forgotten Recipes from an Ancient City.” Copyright © 2016 by Katie Parla and Kristina Gill. Photographs copyright © 2016 by Kristina Gill. Published by Clarkson Potter/Publishers, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC.)