June 25, 2019 — Family Food
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100g cubed unsmoked pancetta
400g fresh asparagus
5 small globe artichokes or 10 small violetta type artichokes
800g fresh broad beans in pods
500g fresh peas in pods
1 large onion
2 cloves garlic
80ml light olive oil
150ml white wine
250ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 bay leaf
Small sprig thyme
Small bunch of basil
Good olive oil for drizzling
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1. For the artichokes peel off the tough outer leaves. (Much of the task of preparing artichokes is dependent on the freshness and size of the artichokes. As they get older they need a little more effort.) Using a sharp paring knife trim around the bottom of the artichoke where the leaves meet the base. Then trim down the bottom and into the stem. The trick is to trim rather than cut too deep. If there is a long stem trim this with a vegetable peeler. Cut and discard the stem where it looks very tough or woody.Then cut across the top of the leaves about a quarter of the way down. Finally, cut down the middle of the whole artichoke from the top to the stem. If the fuzzy choke is developed cut this out – immediately plunge into a bowl of water with the the juice of one lemon.
2. For the asparagus, snap off the woody base of the stems by bending the spears with your hands. Peel the stalks only if thick and woody. Cut the spears in half and boil for 3 minutes. Plunge in cold water to stop cooking and drain. Separate the tips and bases and set aside.
3. For the broad beans, if peeling the skins, boil for 2-3 minutes depending on size. The idea is to cook them long enought to remove their but allow then to finish cooking in the stew. Drain and when cool enough to handle peel off the tough outer skins. If your fresh bean are young and small, pod and set aside.
4. Pod the peas and set aside.
5. Chop the onion and fry in a heavy-based pan with the light olive oil on medium heat for 10 minutes, then add the garlic and the pancetta and continue fry for 10 minutes until the onions are soft and transparent and the pancetta has released its fat. Add the artichokes and fry for a few minutes then add the wine and bring to a boil to burn off the alcohol. Add the stock and bring back to a boil, then reduce the heat to low and cook with a lid ajar for about 20 minutes or until the artichokes on the verge of being done, top up with more stock or water if it is getting too dry. Next add the other vegetables according to the time they need to cook or finish cooking to coincide with the artichokes being cooked. Fresh broad beans in skins will need 5-10 minutes depending on size, peas will need 5 minutes, and the asparagus (just the bases) should go in last and needs just a couple of minutes. The timing is not terribly critical this version of vignarola can be a little overcooked. At the end of cooking add a few basil leaves, and allow to soften for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
6. Boil the pasta until al dente. Drain reserving some of the cooking water. In a large pan combine the stew and papadelle and toss – adding some of the cooking liquid to make a sauce.
7. To serve, warm the asparagus tips and arrange on top of pasta, either in a large serving bowl or in individual bowls. Serve with good olive oil for drizzling, grated parmesan, a quarter of lemon and some good crusty bread.
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