Anne's Blog

Roveja, the Mythical “Lost” Beans of Umbria

Date: November 18, 2018 - categories: , , , , , , , , , , , , - 2 Comments

We’d first savored la roveja legume a few winters back in Cascia during the Umbrian mountain town’s winter festival starring this “lost bean.”

           Cascia in January

 Roveja beans and ground roveja flour for polenta

That night in Cascia as we had sipped the tasty steaming soup cooked up by the local women, we had talked to Silvana about the unearthing of this mysterious bean in her abandoned family cellar over twenty years ago.

    Silvana (left) serves up la zuppa di roveja with friend Geltrude

As the dried pea-shaped legume had mystified the local farmers, Silvana did her own research, learned to cultivate it and has been the force behind the recognition of the roveja as a Slow Food Presidio, assuring its preservation and diffusion.

But was this pea-like legume (originating in the Middle East and cultivated since the Neolithic period) truly “lost” – until resurrection by Silvana – or has there always been a cultivation, if limited?

I was sure Stefania would know, owner of our favorite restaurant in Norcia (“roveja territory,” too).  She called the legume “a sort of wild pea,” explaining that it is cultivated at high altitudes (600 m or higher), resists well cold temperatures and that its gradual disappearance was  probably simply due to the increasingly widespread cultivation of lentils and farro now in the Cascia/Norcia area.

As the roveja pods were picked by hand during the August heat, I imagine that its labor-intensive harvesting also contributed to its gradual fazing out…

And I’m sure there’s another reason for the roveja disappearance:  the tasty Castelluccio di Norcia tiny lentils cook rapidly. Not roveja!  I recently made a roveja soup and grazie a Dio for our wood stove.  The beans simmered for  long hours (after sitting twelve hours in tepid water) before I could add them to the herbs and diced vegetables sautéed lightly in our just-pressed olive oil.

         Roveja beans after an all-night soak

Diced carrots. garlic, parsley, potatoes sautéing in our olive oil

…and finalmente, those long-simmering roveja joined the sautéed mixture along with a bay leaf or two, rosemary, sage and salt, pepper to taste:

 

A few more hours of simmering on the wood stove…..

……..and then, mangiamo!

Pino decided that the zuppa di roveja needed a bit more of our olive oil…

We set some of the soup aside for Peppa to try: she’d never heard of the roveja, nor had most of our other farm neighbors: we’re only hill country here (about 400 m), after all: not roveja territory.

I’m glad to have experienced cooking the mythical “lost beans” but today lentils simmer on the wood stove.  And now, the lentil soup cooking time seems to be the blink of an eye.

 

2 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Privacy Policy

Privacy Italian Legislative Decree n° 196/2003 Under Article 13 of the Italian Legislative Decree no. 196/2003, regulations with regard to the Protection of Personal Data, this is an informative report to all interested parties on the modality of the treatment of personal data, arising from interaction with our website www.annesitaly.com
THE PRINCIPAL FOR DATA TREATMENT During site consultation, personal data referring to identified or identifiable persons can be processed. The principal for data treatment is Anne Robichaud Pian della Pieve Assisi 06081 (PG) Italy. The data will be mainly processed at the mentioned head office by the people responsible for the website or by other people appointed for occasional maintenance operations, provided that their actions conform to of the guarantees enshrined in the Legislative Decree 196/2003.
TYPE OF DATA TREATED
Web navigation The information systems and software procedures required for the functioning of this website, acquire some personal data during their normal service, the transmission of which is implicit in the use of web communication protocols. This information is not collected with the purpose of identifying interested parties, but due to its very nature, the information could lead to user identification through processes and relations with data held by third parties. In this data category there are IP addresses or domain names belonging to computers used by users who connect to the site, addresses with URI (Uniform Resource Identifier) notification of the requested resources, time of the request, used method in submitting the request to the server, dimension of the file obtained in replying, the numeric code mentioning the reply status given by the server (successful reply, error, etc?) and other parameters referred to the operation system and to the user’s information environment. This data is used with the sole purpose of obtaining anonymous statistical information on the use of the site and to check the correct functioning; immediately after processing, the data is erased.
Data voluntarily supplied by the user The voluntary optional and explicit e-mail transmission to the addresses mentioned in this site implies the subsequent acquisition of the sender’s address, necessary to reply to the queries, as well as the other eventual personal data registered in the message.
OPTIONAL PERSONAL DATA SUPPLY Except for the above mentioned navigation data, the user may be asked to supply his own personal data through queries or messages to the email addresses shown in the contact pages. Failure to provide such data may be the cause of the inability to obtain the requested information from the company.
TREATMENT MODALITY The personal data is treated in compliance with the Legislative Decree no. 196/2003 and held only for the time necessary to achieve the aim for which it has been collected. Specific safety measures are taken to prevent any data loss, illicit or incorrect use and unauthorized access.
RIGHTS OF THIRD PARTIES The data subjects are at any time entitled to obtain confirmation as to whether or not data relating to him are held, to know the contents and the origin, to check the correctness, to ask for integration, updating or change (art. 7 Decree Law 196:June 2003). In accordance with the same article, they are entitled to obtain the erasure, conversion into anonymous form or freezing of all data used in breach of the law, to object, on legitimate grounds, to the processing of data relating to him. All requests have to be transmitted to the e-mail address anne@annesitaly.com

Agenzia Viaggi Stoppini in Assisi handles all technical support for my guided visits (bus transportation, organization of meals, etc)