Celebrate Spring with Vignarola
Vignarola is an Italian vegetable stew that gloriously celebrates spring in all her glory. It’s comprised of young, tender artichokes, fava beans, sweet peas, spring onions and lettuce braised in a light broth punctuated with fresh mint and lemon. After reading several variations of Vignarola, also called Frittedda in Sicily, I concluded Italians are a lot like people from Provence: everyone will argue about what is authentic and what is blasphemous concerning recipes. With vignarola, the arguments seem to center around: do you add guanciale or not; is fennel accepted or not; is it even legal to add potatoes?
I am reminded of my own heated conversations with my Marseille born mother Mishou over how to make a proper ratatouille. She advocated cutting everything larger than I usually do, and slowly stewing it together. She correctly points out that my version is more a restaurant one than a home styled one, as all the ingredients are cut finely, cooked separately, then mixed together at the last moment.