Garmugia-I just love that word. It’s not one that you’ll find in an Italian dictionary. Truth be told you might not even find an Italian who knows what this means, unless of course you happen to be in the province of Lucca. Garmugia is an homage to spring, just brimming with the freshest of vegetables-peas, fava beans, asparagus and artichokes, all from this morning’s farmers’ market.
I found this recipe in Beth Elon’s fabulous book-A Culinary Traveller In Italy, while getting inspired for my upcoming trip. It is chock full of information on the food of the region and includes details on restaurants and shops, in addition to recipes for regional specialties. I’d forgotten that there were so many things in this book that I wanted to try. This was a good one to start with and made the perfect light dinner along with a slice of toasted bread. In fact, without the addition of the broth and the meat, this would make for a tasty side dish to a roast chicken.
3 small onions, thinly sliced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 ounce pancetta, in small cubes
1/4 pound lean ground beef
1 pound fresh fava beans (weighed in their shells), shelled
1/4 pound fresh English peas (weighed in their pods), shelled
3 fresh artichoke hearts, chopped
1 small bunch if asparagus, chopped
3-1/2 cups vegetable broth
In a deep earthenware flameproof casserole (I used a dutch oven), melt the onions in the olive oil. Add the pancetta and the ground beef. Break up the meat with a fork and cook for ten minutes. Add the vegetables , mix well, and cook for five minutes. Add the broth and continue cooking for 20 minutes. At the end taste for seasoning, add salt and freshly ground pepper and a small knob of butter. Serves: 4