It is now well known that the history of a city is not made only by men, the monuments and the vicissitudes, but also the special occasions dishes, but also those that are usually prepared every day. The Roman gastronomy is a discovery, it is a tradition, it has the ancient flavors that derive from the rural tradition, if you notice the dishes of the Roman cuisine, the most famous and appreciated all derive from a poor tradition.
Today a very famous Roman second course: the vignarola.
Vignarola is a recipe from poor gastronomy, the result of rural tradition. The origin of the name refers to the term "vignarolo", which in Roman dialect indicates the greengrocer, perhaps because this dish was prepared with was left from the daily sale. In reality, the essential vegetables for the vignarola are springtime fruits, which are only found in a precise and limited period of the year, so it was hardly a dish that was prepared with the leftovers. It is more probable that this dish was actually designed by the winemakers of the Velletri area, land of extensive vineyards, who prepared it on the return from the vineyards with freshly picked vegetables in the garden, tender and cook in a short time.
The beans and peas, protagonists of this recipe, were in fact planted, once, in the middle of the vines to nourish the soil, and then to be harvested as soon as they appeared. Then, they ended up in a pot with artichokes (the Roman "mammole" -product which has been recognized as IGP- artichokes with a compact and round shape, not thorny, typical of Lazio) and they were cooked little and quickly: it seems this is the traditional recipe of the vignarola, which thus testifies the passage from the harsh winter and spring temperatures, milder and more pleasant, through the union of the last artichokes with the first broad beans and the first peas of the season.
But what exactly is the vignarola? Some consider it a soup and keep it more liquid, others make it and serve it as an appetizer or as a second course, vegetarian or not depending on the use (optional) of the bacon; it is also customary to prepare it for pasta and risotto.