After a long hiatus, Chef John Regefalk, sous chef at Rome’s one Michelin starred Metamorfosi, is back! This time, he’s not urban foraging for olives nor pickling capers plucked from the Aurelian Wall. Instead, he’s come by to share his recipe for vignarola. This springtime stew brings together the first peas and favas with late season artichokes. John made this version of vignarola with speck our friends Hande and Theo brought back from Austria, but you can use pancetta or guanciale instead.
John’s Austrian-Roman-Swedish Vignarola
3 large artichokes, trimmed and cleaned
10 oz fresh green peas, shelled weight
10 oz fresh fava beans, shelled weight
1 small head of Romaine lettuce, finely sliced
A couple of spring onions/scallions
1 clove of garlic, smashed
1 cup diced Austrian smoked speck (or substitute with guanciale or pancetta)
1 cup good white wine
1 handful of chopped fresh herbs (marjoram, thyme, mint, parsley)
Salt and black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil
Start by letting the Speck melt in a pot over low heat. When the fat becomes translucent, raise the heat to medium and continue cooking until the pieces turn golden. While the speck is cooking, slice the artichokes into 1/5th inch slices. Chop the spring onions, reserving the green part for later.
Add the artichokes and scallions to the pot and sautee over high heat for about a minute, then add the garlic, a liberal pinch of salt and most of the wine. Cook over medium-high heat for a couple of minutes, then cover, checking every now and then to make sure there is still a bit of liquid in the pot. If the artichokes start to stick to the bottom of the pan, just add a small amount of water and stir.
When the artichokes are tender, add the fava beans and the rest of the wine, cook covered for about 5 minutes. Add the peas and cook for another 3 minutes. Then add the lettuce, herbs, and scallion greens and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook just long enough to allow the lettuce and herbs to wilt, about a minute. Take the pot off the heat and allow it to rest, uncovered, for 5 minutes. Stir in a good slug of olive oil and serve.