Fr. Z’s Kitchen: Vignarola romana and using up left overs with stuff in the freezer

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 ….

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. monstrance says:

    Love that fine Benchmade on the table.
    The food looks great too.

  2. Mariana2 says:

    Fr. Zuhlsdorf’s Cookbook – all proceeds go to the Promotion of Clericalism. I’d buy that.

  3. mo7 says:

    I was cheering you on until you put garlic in the meatloaf. I love garlic, but not in everything.

  4. mo7 says:

    I was cheering you on until you put garlic in the meatloaf. I love garlic, but not in everything.

  5. acardnal says:

    Keep on cookin’ Father!

    mo7, garlic goes into everything! Now mint in meatloaf. . . that’s another thing.

  6. Filiolus says:

    Who won the chess game? Wine, food, and chess. Sounds like a great way to spend the Octave.

  7. jjbulano says:

    What a great use of frozen pantry items. And absolutely use the meatloaf to make a meat sauce!!! Maybe you could make a suggestion to the Food Network to have a Chopped competition for Priests!!! You’ve already got a head start on making the best of what you have to work with!!!

  8. Charivari Rob says:

    Just checking – cook the peas separately and then combine with the onion/artichoke/wine/lima bean dish, or cook in that same pan?

    [I put the peas in with everything else, but close to the end.]

  9. GrumpyYoungMan says:

    We were supposed to be in Rome right about now, too. Actually Lourdes today, Rome starting Sunday. Sigh…

    I always appreciate your recipes. Thank you Father!

  10. tho says:

    Father, I can’t determine whether your a great cook or a great photographer. Either way, I am impressed.

  11. Liz says:

    I keep trying to grow Lima beans in my garden. Your post makes me want to try again this year.

  12. JustaSinner says:

    Cold meatloaf sandwich on a home made croissant with that triple creme brie…amazing!

  13. Diana says:

    Amazing. love it! truly inspirational!

Comments are closed.