Recipe courtesy of

Makes 4 servings


4 to 5 medium globe artichokes
Juice of half a lemon
2 pounds whole fava beans in their pods
2 pounds fresh peas in their pods (or about 1 pound of shelled fresh or frozen peas)
1.5 ounces pancetta, thinly sliced and chopped into thin strips
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 small spring onions (or 1 regular onion), sliced finely
1 small head Romaine lettuce, shredded finely
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 handful of mint, torn
Crusty bread (optional)


Prepare the artichokes by pulling off the leaves starting from the base and going round and round until you reach the tender, pale-colored leaves. Trim the stem to about 1 1/2 inches, and trim the outermost green part of the stem. Cut the top, pointed half of the artichoke off completely. Place the artichokes in a large bowl of cold water with the lemon juice (this stops them from blackening) until you have prepared all the artichokes. Finish by cutting the artichokes into wedges (if there is a fluffy choke, remove it with a teaspoon) and place the artichoke wedges back in the lemon water.

Remove the pods of the fava beans and peas.

In a skillet large enough to hold all the vegetables, cook the pancetta in the olive oil over low-medium heat. When crisp and golden, remove and leave to drain on paper towels. In the same pan, sauté the onion over low heat until soft and translucent, a few minutes. Return the pancetta to the pan, along with the artichoke wedges and a pinch of salt. Add enough water to reach a depth of about 1/2 inch. Braise the artichokes for 7 to 10 minutes, or until tender.

In the meantime, blanch the fava beans in a pot of salted boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove any thick skins from large beans, if desired (I usually consider beans larger than my thumbprint to be big).

Add the fava beans, peas, and lettuce to the pan. If the liquid has evaporated too quickly, add some more (about 1/2 to 1 cup) and stir the vegetables together, cooking for a further 2 to 3 minutes or until the lettuce has wilted entirely and the peas are tender but bright.

Season to taste with salt and pepper, then add the mint. Remove from the heat and let the pan sit, covered, for about 5 minutes before serving the vignarola warm, preferably with slices of crusty bread.