June 22, 2015 — Dinner Party

Vingnole Pasta

  • 1.5 - 2 hours
  • 4 PEOPLE
  • medium

‘…this can be a starter, or Dad adopts it as a main by filling it out with deli pasta. You can play around with the veg as long as it is all in season together’

'Seriously tasty this (originally) 'Italian peasant dish' is a proper winter warmer, or a spring/summer dish made with fresh seasonal vegetables...'

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What you need

300g De Cecco Conchiglioni Rigati Large Shell Pasta

8 small artichokes

1kg each of broad beans and peas in their pods – shelled

Small bunch each of parsley, basil and mint (adjust amount and type to your liking)

1 medium red onion, chopped

2 small cloves of garlic, sliced

8 slices of prosciutto – Parma ham

200ml light chicken stock

Splash white wine

2 bay leaves

Light olive oil

Virgin olive oil and butter

Salt and pepper



Dad's Recipe Tales

Vignole: An Italian melange of spring vegetables

Vignole is served as it is – or as a bruschetta. I have adapted it into a pasta sauce – though it is more like a stew with large pasta shapes. It should always include small artichokes, peas, and broad beans – but can happily take other seasonal spring vegetables. It is usually seasoned with parsley and basil – though in Sicily mint is used. This is the type of recipe, like caponata, that is so evocative for a keen cook, eager to learn new ideas about Italian food. It just feels authentic. Just the kind of rustic cooking traditions the River Cafe loves to explore and recreate – indeed, vingnole is one of their most popular starters. Giorgio Locatelli, tells fond stories eating this dish as a child. His grandmother,  would cook it for his family when the new spring vegetables were harvested.

Vignole brings together two of my favourite earthy and mineral flavours – artichokes and broad beans. The recipe is simple and intuitive, requiring the cooking of all the elements to their individual level of tenderness. Locatelli’s grandmother stews the ingredients together and adds parmesan to finish. The River Café uses prosciutto both in the long cooking of the peas and as a garnish. I use the Hart’s confit method of cooking artichokes from ‘Modern Spanish Cooking’ (confit is a method for artichokes I have not come across  – it works). I make a mix of herbs combining basil and parsley, and just a little mint.


How Dad Cooked It

  1. Prepare the artichokes: Pull off the tough outer leaves and carefully trim the base and stem with a small sharp knife . Cut off the top half of leaves, and cut the artichokes into halves. (If your artichokes are old or overgrown – it will be necessary to trim off more leaves and remove the choke – easier to do when halved.) Use a stainless steel knife for this (carbon steel will taint the artichoke). Put the artichokes in acidulated water as you proceed i.e. water in which a little lemon or vinegar has been added.
  2. Cook the artichokes: Place the artichokes in a small pan, position them as efficiently as possible to avoid excess gaps and space. Add oil to cover, bring to 70C – 80C and cook for about 30 minutes until tender. Do not let the temperature rise. Strain the artichokes, reserving the oil.
  3. Boil the broad beans: Cook until tender. Keep the skins on. Set aside.
  4. Cook the peas. In a heavy pan add a glug of oil and small knob of butter. Sweat the onions and garlic on medium high heat. After 10 minutes, add the peas and bay leaves. Add the stock, lay the two slices of ham over the peas and cover, continuing to cook on very low heat for about 20 minutes – or longer – until the peas are tender. Discard the ham – it’s flavour has transferred to the peas.
  5. Cook the pasta: Boil 3 litres of water in a large pan – add 30g salt. Cook until al dente. Strain the pasta reserving a cup of water.
    Fry the artichokes: Add a small knob of butter to a pan and fry the artichokes on a medium to high heat until the artichokes just start to colour. Add a large splash of white wine, boil and reduce. Remove from the heat.
  6. Finish the sauce: In a large pan combine the pasta, peas, broad beans toss and shake to combine flavours – add some of the pasta water if too dry. Add the herbs and check the seasoning. Continue to toss to allow the flavours to meld.
  7. Plate and serve: Transfer the pasta to a serving dish. Cut the prosciutto to thick ribbons and drop over the pasta. Serve with crusty bread and Parmesan.
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