A vignarola, for those who may not know, is a vegetable stew that is all about Spring, late spring. The word ‘vigna’ means vineyard and signals the bounty that the countryside can bring to the table during that time of year. I wrote an in-depth post about it some time ago, when it was seasonally appropriate. It is mostaly about ripe artichokes, fresh broad beans and peas etc. (https://frascaticookingthatsamore.wordpress.com/2016/04/14/vignarola-the-pilgrimage-of-posh/).
Last night, as I composed a dish with some ingredients that happened to be sitting in the fridge, I became ‘high’ on my own steam … the delight of ending up with a recipe that was too good not to repeat! The creativity of it all was an incredible boon. And so I felt just like Little Jack Horner and said “What a good girl am I” for having come up with the idea. The idea of an Autumn Vignarola. Genius! Ha! Clap of hands and a good old-fashioned whirl, never mind the ubiquitous thumbs up. It’s good to be self congratulatory now and then, why not. It’s good to play in the kitchen, the way we used to play as children.
Please bear in mind that I already had these ingredients, and it was only as they came out of the fridge that I cobbled the recipe together.
Artichokes, pork jowl (guanciale), spring onion, somewhat limp courgette blossoms, fresh mint, parsely, previously cooked ricotta, dessert wine. Considering it is Autumn and the vineyards are still producing ripe grapes, maybe I will add a few grapes next time.
See this? this is some ricotta that I had baked in the oven a few days previously. Just ricotta, no other ingredient.
That’s what you can do with leftover fresh ricotta: bake it in the oven for use another time.
Here you see the spring onion, diced ricotta and courgette blossoms that are well past their first bloom but still edible.
LET’S START COOKING
I trimmed and sliced the artichokes and started cooking them with just olive oil and slices of pork jowl. Normally, ripe artichokes don’t take that long to cook this way. After a while, however, I could see that these artichokes (they are not quite in season and are a little hard) were taking their time. So I added some water to speed up the stewing.
I also added a splash of dessert wine – it works very well with artichokes as it turns out!
When the artichokes were finally cooked, I added the diced ricotta, the raw spring onion, the courgette blossoms and the fresh mint and parsely. I turned the heat off but left the ingredients in to ‘warm up’ before plating.
Added a spray of pepper.
Doesn’t look like much, does it. What a shame. It was deeeelicious, even if I say so myself.
Autumn vignarola. Another seasonal dish to look forward to.