This feast of sautéed vegetables and pulses is called Vignarola and is a typical side dish from the Lazio region and precisely from the city of Rome. a rich dish of vegetables and pulses, such as broad beans, peas, artichokes, spring onions and lettuce, cooked slowly in a pan until extremely tender and to which fresh mint, guanciale (pork cheek) and Pecorino cheese are added. It is usually eaten as a side dish, but is also excellent as a condiment for pasta or on top of a bruschetta.
In the local dialect, the word ‘Vignarola’ comes from the Italian word Vigna – ‘Vineyard’ in English – which indicates the farmers who sell the fruit and vegetables from their vineyard at the market.
Serves: 4 | Preparation : 15 mins | Cooking : approx.40 mins
- Lettuce: 1 head (or about 600 g)
- Broad beans, fresh or frozen: 400 g
- Peas, fresh: 400 g
- Spring onion: 200 g
- Guanciale (Italian cured pork jowl) : 100 g
- Artichokes: 2
- Lemons: 2 to 3 slices or juice
- Vegetable broth, warm: about 500 ml
- White wine, dry: about 1 glass
- EVOO – Extra Virgin Olive Oil: a drizzle
- Pecorino cheese, grated: a handful
- Mint, fresh: to taste
- Salt and pepper: to taste
Shell the broad beans and peas, clean the artichokes: first remove the hard outer leaves, chop off the beard of the artichokes to expose their tender inner core, then cut them in wedges. Place them in a bowl full of cold water and lemon slices or lemon juice to prevent the artichokes from blakening.
Prepare the broth.
Tip: you can make the broth by simply boiling together an onion, a carrot, the outer artichoke leaves and the broad beans.
Chop up lettuce, dice Guanciale or cut it into thin strips.
Heat up a large saucepan, brown Guanciale until it becomes translucent. No oil or butter addition needed. Add the broad beans and peas, stir well. Pour a ladle of hot broth, let it simmer.
As soon as the broth evaporates, add the spring onions along with artichokes, let them frying up. Pour in the wine and reduce. Add salt and pepper to taste.
Cook for about 10 mins by stirring often. Add the lettuce and the rest of the broth; cover with a lid and let it cook over low heat for about 10-15 mins.
Mix in the fresh mint leaves. Serve topped with a generous handful of grated Pecorino and a drizzle of olive oil.