The other day I noticed some cheese named for St. Rocco, who is a patron saint invoked against disease and pandemic. I took it as a sign that I should buy it… to help against the Coronavirus, you know. Trying to do my best for you.
Sometimes I miss Rome… a lot. I had planned to be there, pretty much now and into May. Sigh.
When I miss Rome, I bring Rome to me… in my kitchen.
A friend of mine from Rome wrote that she was making Vignarola alla romana. “That’s the ticket”, quoth I.
These days if the markets were open they would be filled with new artichokes and broadbeans and peas. The Romans make something called vignarola from those components. There are variations, with wild lettuce and with guanciale, etc.
I don’t have these fresh things available. So… IMPROVISE – ADAPT – OVERCOME!
At the shops I found some – alas – canned artichokes. No frozen were available. I found some good frozen peas and, for the fave, fresh but flash frozen lima beans.
Start with some oil and give some heat to green or spring onions.
In go the artichokes,
In go the still frozen lima beans. Add a slosh of dry white wine. Simmer together. Add a little fresh mint. It can be done with parsley, but mint is better.
More torn mint. Simmer.
It was surprisingly good! It wasn’t quite a good as it could have been with great Roman fresh ingredients, but it was pretty darn good. And so easy. Since I don’t like to let the perfect be the enemy of the good, I was happy with it and enjoyed it.
I asked a priest friend for a Supper for the Promotion of Clericalism™, with appropriate social distancing.
I soaked potatoes in salt water and roasted them. My little portable grill was quickly set up in the courtyard outside The Cupboard Under The Stairs for the preparation of a very large porterhouse steak, which was on a super good sale. With the vignarola romana and a superb bottle of wine – thanks to donors – I splurged on for Easter…
I had so much vignarola that I had to do something with it. However, again my Roman friend suggested making meatloaf with it!
“Wow!”, quoth I. “Let’s do that!”
I made the bread crumbs with the heels of a loaf and with the remains of the bread from the Supper for the Promotion of Clericalism. I had ground pork and ground 96 beef in the freezer archive. Italian parsley and 6 big garlic cloves went through the processor. Two eggs. Also, more mint!
So, baked potatoes (big bag for $5!) and chives with polpettone da vignarola romana!
And now I have so much meatloaf that I will be eating it for a while.
Hmmm… maybe I could make some kind of pasta sauce out of it ….