- 1/4 cup good-quality pancetta, cut into cubes or lardons
- 3 cups water, divided
- 1 large globe artichoke, cleaned, trimmed and cut into 8 pieces
- 7 spears asparagus, blanched quickly and cooled, coarsely cut
- 1/2 cup fresh peas (can sub frozen here), blanched and cooled
- 1/2 cup raw sugar snap peas, sliced thinly
- 1 head little gem lettuce, sliced
- 2 green onions, minced
- 1/2 lemon, juiced
- kosher salt, to taste
- extra virgin olive oil, to finish, plus more for bread
- 2 slices ciabatta
- 1 clove garlic, peeled
- burrata cheese, to finish
This is actually a classic dish from Roma, especially popular in mid- to late spring. Most of the recipes we create are associated with an important memory and pay homage to a traditional Italian food, and this one is no exception. I first had a rendition of this while at a restaurant in Roma called Ristorante Il Giardino. We also do a similar version in Emilia-Romagna without the gem lettuces. It's so delicious and so great for spring.
Technique tip: The best way to do this is by cooking all of the vegetables separately and ahead of time. When we have people over, we assemble the vignarola and toast the bread, taking only 5 minutes.
Swap option: You can remove the pancetta and burrata here to make it vegan, but there's nothing like a really beautiful salumi to round out the vignarola.
For the vignarola:
Preheat the oven to 350 F.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, add the pancetta with 1 cup water. Slowly cook until the water has evaporated, the fat has been rendered and the pancetta is crispy. Add the artichokes to the pot remaining 2 cups of water and slowly simmer until the artichokes are cooked through and pierce easily with a knife. Then add the asparagus, peas, sugar snap peas, gem lettuce and green onion. Cook on medium heat until the lettuce is wilted. Season with lemon juice, salt and extra-virgin olive oil, and plate.
For the bread and burrata:
Meanwhile, toast the ciabatta bread, rub with a garlic clove and douse with olive oil. Serve with a really nice burrata and the vignarola.