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Spring Vegetables with Fresh Pasta
This dish is a great way to incorporate all the fresh vegetables of spring from wild asparagus to roman artichokes & sweet fava. The dish originated in Rome, they called it vignarola or vignole but it can be found here as well in Le Marche. It's a versatile dish that you can make as a primo or pasta dish or as a stew/soup by adding more vegetable stock (and a good hunk of crusty bread).
(For the vegetarians out there, sadly, just omit the prosciutto)
We ask just one thing of you -Please, please use fresh pasta in this dish - it will make it much softer & worth the effort or cost - you will taste the difference. We use spaghetti alla chitarra or tagliatelle (local pastas), but if you can't find those types just try regular spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine.
- 12 – 16 oz of fresh pasta
- 4 – 5 small artichokes
- sea salt and pepper
- 1 leek, outer leaves removed, cut into 3-inch lengths, washed
- ½ lb chard (or other nice leafy greens)
- extra virgin olive oil
- 1 small white onion, chopped
- ¾ cup of vegetable stock (add another ¾ cup if you are making into a stew) - use the water you will using to blanch the veggies in.
- 12 oz fresh shelled peas
- 12 oz of fresh shelled fava (or half a grocery bag full of the beans)
- one bunch of asparagus
- 4 thick slices of prosciutto
- small bunch fresh mint and parsley
- Put artichokes into a pot of cold, salted water and bring to a boil.
- Boil for about 10 minutes or until tender (you can check by inserting a knife into the heart) and drain (tip: Jason puts a plate on top of the boiling water of artichokes so they don't pop out and stay under water!)
- Allow to cool, then peel off the outer leaves until you find the pale tender ones, remove the choke (fuzzy white parts) using a spoon.
- Cut the hearts into quarters.
- Fill the pot with new water, add salt and bring to a boil.
- Blanch the fava beans for a minute, remove from water with a slotted spoon.
- Blanch the leeks for 3 -4 minutes, until tender, and the chard until just wilted.
- Heat a large saucepan, big enough to hold all the ingredients, and add a good splash of oil.
- Cook the onion, low and slow for about 10 minutes until soft.
- Cut the tough parts of the asparagus off the bottom and discard, cut into quarter inch pieces.
- Sauté for 2-3 minutes with onion.
- Then add vegetable stock (the water used to blanch the fava, leeks and chard) and the peas, bring to a boil.
- Cut the prosciutto into bits and add in - simmer for about 10 minutes, until the peas are cooked and soft and the prosciutto has flavored it all nicely.
- Chop leeks into strips, run a knife through the chard and stir into the pan.
- Add the artichoke hearts and fava beans and let simmer for a few minutes.
- Finish with salt and pepper to taste a small bunch of chopped fresh mint and parsley.
- Add a few glugs of olive oil.
- Toss with pasta and drizzle with a bit more olive oil for the bright flavors and colors of spring! sprinkle with fresh grated Parmesan or grana padano.
Note: You may need a few spoonfuls of pasta water if the dish looks too dry.