This recipe comes from Lazio, the region where Rome is located; in the local dialect, the vignaroli are the farmers that sell fruit and vegetables on the market. Vignarola is a dish rich in water, proteins and mineral salts, and as it consists mostly of vegetables and legumes, it’s healthy and poor in calories.
Vignarola is usually consumed as a side of vegetables, but it’s perfect also as a pasta seasoning, or simply to top a slice of toasted bread. Broad beans, peas and artichokes are in season during spring and summer.
Serves: 4 | Preparation time: 15 mins | Cooking time: 30 mins
- Lettuce: 1 head (or about 600 g)
- Broad beans, fresh: 500 g
- Peas, fresh: 500 g
- Spring onion, fresh: 200 g
- Guanciale (cheek lard) or smoked bacon: 100 g
- Artichokes: 2
- Lemons: 2 to 3 slices
- Vegetable broth: 1 l
- White wine, dry: about 1 glass
- Extra virgin olive oil: 3 tbsp
- Pecorino, grated: to taste
- Mint, fresh: to taste
- Salt and pepper: to taste
Shell the beans and peas, then clean the artichokes: first cut off the hard tip of the leaves with your kitchen scissors, then remove the harder outer leaves. Chop off the head of the artichokes to expose their tender inner core, then cut them in wedges. Leave the artichokes to rest in a bowl full of water, with some lemon slices. This will prevent the artichokes from discolouring.
Chop the cos lettuce and the cheek lard into strips.
Heat up the olive oil in a large saucepan; brown the cheek lard until it becomes translucent. Add the beans and stir well, then add the peas. Pour in half of the vegetable broth and let it simmer.
When the broth evaporates completely, add the spring onions and the artichokes and fry them up. Pour in the wine and reduce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Fry up the vegetables and lard for about 5 minutes, stirring often to keep them from burning. Add the cos lettuce and the rest of the broth; cover with a lid and let it boil over low heat for about 10 minutes.
Once the broth has evaporated, mix in the fresh mint leaves. Serve topped with some grated Pecorino and a drizzle of olive oil.
Tip: Instead of using ready-made vegetable broth, you can make it yourself by simply boiling together an onion, a carrot, the outer artichoke leaves and the bean pods. It’s tastier and cheaper than buying the broth in a supermarket, and it’s a good idea to recycle parts of vegetables normally thrown away. Check out this recipe for an Easy Every-Day Vegetable Broth & Veggie Patties