Vignarola - Roman Spring Vegetables

author: claireandhen

created: 2006-04-01 21:33:38

servings: 6


This is a Roman recipe that is the greatest thing you can do with the beautiful fresh spring vegetables available there at this time of year. The rest of us can fantasize and do whatever we can to get hold of the ingredients. This version is based on Marcella Hazan's - although Claire seems to think you should put asparagus in it too.


Half a lemon 4 or 5 medium globe artichokes 900g/2lbs fresh peas - preferably in their pods 900g/2lbs fresh broad beans - again in their pods if possible 1 large head cos lettuce 2 or 3 small fresh onions 100ml/4floz extra virgin olive oil Salt Squeeze the lemon into a bowl of water Trim the artichokes as follows: i) Pull off the outer green leaves snapping them just above the base until you expose a central cone of leaves with a pale base ii) Cut off the central cone of leaves down to the whitish base iii) Trim off the green stems of the detached leaves iv) Scoop out the fuzzy inner choke v) Trim off the green part of the stem leaving the white central core. You'll feel like you've got rid of the major part of the artichoke but what's left is unbelievable delicious - the rule is if it's green it'll be tough - if it's white it'll be mouth wateringly tender. Cut the trimmed artichokes into wedges and drop them in the lemon water Shell the peas and the broad beans Pull the leaves from the lettuce head, soak them in water two or three times, then shred them finely. Slice the onion very finely Take a saucepan that can hold all the ingredients. Put the olive oil in over a low heat and add the onion and a pinch of salt. Cook the onion until it's soft. Drain and rinse the artichokes and put them in the pot. Add the peas, broad beans and lettuce. Sprinkle liberally with salt and mix them up with the onion and the oil. Put a lid on the pot and cook over a low heat until the vegetables are tender. This may take up to two hours depending on the freshness of the vegetables. Add 150ml/5floz of water whenever the cooking juices seem insufficient to stop the vegetables from sticking to the saucepan. You shouldn't need more than 575ml/1 pint of water in total. Serve warm, not hot.