/La Vignarola, Blink and You'll Miss It

La Vignarola, Blink and You'll Miss It


Springtime in Rome is very magical for many reasons. La Vignarola–a medley of tender artichokes, fava beans, and peas–is one of them. The other ingredients may vary (some recipes call for romaine lettuce hearts), but you are sure to find guanciale, spring onions, and a generous amount of black pepper in the mix. Vignarola is very versatile dish–it can act as a primo secondo or contorno; leaving out the guanciale makes it vegetarian (ewe); the three components can be served mixed together or on separate parts of a dish, as I had it at Il Comparone Thursday night. In spite of all of these variables, one thing is certain: blink and you’ll miss it. In Rome’s fiercely seasonal produce environment, artichokes, fava beans, and peas don’t stay small, sweet and vignarola worthy for long.

2016-01-07T14:38:15+00:00 April 25th, 2009|Categories: Gastronomic Traditions, Rome & Lazio|10 Comments


  1. JP April 25, 2009 at 3:55 pm - Reply

    This dish looks so delicious – of course I love anything with artichokes! Too bad they won’t be in season when I visit.

  2. Natasha - 5 Star Foodie April 26, 2009 at 5:03 am - Reply

    These are delicious veggies and perfect for spring!

  3. ciaochowlinda April 27, 2009 at 12:06 am - Reply

    Katie – Thanks so much for stopping by my blog. I have found you because of it and I love your blog. It is so great to read about Rome, and Trastevere in particular, where I used to live. I’ll be checking in frequently.

  4. Katie April 27, 2009 at 6:20 pm - Reply

    @Natasha @ciaochowlinda thanks for the comments. come back soon!

  5. Dianne (Rome the Second Time) April 30, 2009 at 4:57 pm - Reply

    Katie… I adore vignarola & couldn’t wait to get my first in ’09, which i did last nite at da Giggetto… not sure i approve of the separated kind… have you tried it as a soup? i was going to suggest you blog about it, but u beat me to it… i like the theories of the name variation… that it’s what is planted between the vineyard rows, or… it’s what the vineyard workers eat when they’re working the vines in Spring. Dianne (www.romethesecondtime.com) PS have fixed on a pretty good bread from a good forno in my zona – genzano integrale (the last name, as you know, means whole grain)

  6. Barby May 5, 2009 at 1:01 am - Reply

    I made Pacific Northwest-style vignarola last night for dinner. It was yummy. I used scallions (didn’t like the looks of the spring onions at the Market) and cipollini, garlic (I know it’s not in the recipe) baby artichokes, asparagus, morels and fava beans and just stewed it all together in good olive oil w/ a piece of pancetta (forgot to get guanciale). I cooked it about 40-45 minutes. Served it over polenta. Prepping the vegies takes awhile, but it’s really easy to make. Thanks for the idea.

    • Katie May 5, 2009 at 6:58 pm - Reply

      Sounds delicious! Like so many recipes, la vignarola is variable, depending on what was local and available in the fields of Lazio. I love the idea of a Pacific NW style one!

  7. Alberto May 5, 2009 at 12:22 am - Reply

    Oh, che bel piatto!!!
    Noi in Sicilia lo prepariamo in un modo molto simile, e lo chiamiamo “Frittedda Cavura”.
    Sempre con fave piselli e carciofi.
    Nell’entroterra, verso le montagne, ne ricavano anche una minestra che accompagnano con la pasta, aggiungendo agli ingredienti già citati, le cime del finocchietto selvatico, che regala a questo piatto un sapore unico!
    Complimenti e a presto!
    Bya Bye

  8. Eleonora May 3, 2010 at 1:41 pm - Reply

    Brava Katie for writing about versatile vignarola, one of my favorite springtime dishes!!

    In the Campania region–and specifically on the Amalfi coast–this is prepared with unpeeled novelle potatoes instead of the Lazio lettuce and pancetta instead of guanciale. They also call it Tortiera Pasquale, given the Easter seasonality of its ingredients.

  9. […] Maybe cuttlefish balls don’t sound like the most appetizing thing on the planet, but they are not what you think. I just don’t know how else to translate polpette di seppie. Cuttlefish meatballs? Anyway, they are bits of cuttlefish, breadcrumbs, and pecorino rolled into a ball and baked. No meat involved. Last night at Il Convivio Troiani (Via dei Soldati, 28; Rome) they were served with thin slices of baked ravioli on a bed of the most spectacular vignarola. […]

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