Golossary: Vignarola

Roman spring vegetable dish with fava beans, artichokes and potatoes
Vignarola from Trattoria Urbana in Rome

Don’t let the ugly appearance dissuade you from trying this fantastic vegetable dish that invade Rome each Spring. Put aside any preconceived notions of overcooking, somehow it works here. Yes the vibrant green colors have long since turned a sickly shade of beige, but the flavors have mellowed and melded harmoniously.

Here you will find the seasonal staples, the central Italian spring triumvirate of artichokes, peas and fava beans, combined and slowly braised over low heat. They create a flavorful stew, which may have the addition of onion, garlic, asparagus, potatoes, wilted greens and even a bit of guanciale (cured pork cheek) thrown in for good measure.

It is light and flavorful, a wonderful accompaniment to grilled meats, but just as wonderful on its own with a hunk of crusty bread. It is warm and satisfying the perfect dish to bridge the seasons with the warm sun and cool breeze.

In the province of Lucca in Tuscany a virtually identical dish is called Garmugia.

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