Roveja is a still very unknown legume, very ancient and with a centuries-old history behind it. A few years ago it became a Slow Food presidium and the harvest, carried out strictly by hand, allows you to bring to the table a unique product with an inimitable, intense and fragrant taste. An ancient legume grown in the lands of the Marche and Umbria is known in central Italy with the name of Roveja, ancient pea or field pea, perfect to accompany soups and stews or to prepare the traditional “farecchiata”.
Famously known as “Roveja lentil”, in appearance it is very similar to the pea but with a very different pod, whose intense green color changes during ripening progressing towards dark purple tones, and his collection occurs, strictly by hand, between the end of July and the beginning of August.
One time dried, ready to be consumed, it is dark brown in color, in this version it is found on the market and lends itself mostly for the preparation of traditional soups and stews and in addition to prolonged cooking, it requires soaking at least one day before to be consumed soft and tasty.
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Origins of Roveja
In 2006, Roveja became a Slow Food Presidium, involving a particular area of central Italy which includes some municipalities of the Civita di Cascia area, whose producers, following the ancient traditions of cultivation and harvesting, they set themselves as target main one to make known and spread this one-of-a-kind product, with an authentic taste that smells of love and tradition.
It seems that its origins are very ancient, plant from the Neolithic period, and from from the Middle East area, probably from that rich and flourishing area that was the fertile crescent, it soon arrives too in Italy where it is grown still today in the regions of Umbria and Marche, and slowly the trade of this very particular legume is gaining more and more notoriety both in Italy and abroad.
La Roveja is a plant that it grows spontaneously and even if over the years it has been almost forgotten, since 2006 thanks to the Slow Food Presidium, it continues to enjoy great success especially in starred restaurants thanks to its particularity. Once was the staple food of shepherds and farmers, usually consumed in soups and mixed with other legumes such as lentils, cicerchie, beans and broad beans, made it possible to prepare a meal full of energy given the high protein content contained therein.
Roveja: nutritional properties
La Roveja is among the legumes present in nature, among the most protein in absolute, as well as boasting a high content of carbohydrates, phosphorus and potassium. It also contains little fat and it is not very caloric, therefore suitable for those who follow a restrictive diet or for those who prefer a protein diet, sometimes replacing meat or fish.
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From a nutritional point of view, is in fact, a lot similar to pea, keeping inside important vegetable proteins, as well as a good amount of carbohydrates and therefore considered particularly energetic. This ancient legume it is very rich in potassium and phosphorus in addition to a high fiber content so as to promote intestinal transit, thus fighting the increase in “bad” cholesterol in the blood.
La Roveja in the kitchen
La Roveja has a fairly high cost, also and above all for the way in which it is still collected. In full respect of tradition, this legume is still harvested by hand, with their backs bowed, hundreds of farmers mow this plant by hand to obtain its precious fruits. This too was an important reason for abandoning the cultivation of this legume, which only in recent years has seen the resurgence of its fame in the recovery of traditions.
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To be able to enjoy it at its best, it is necessary to soak it for about 12 hours, is later proceed to boil it for about 50 minutes. Perfect for soups, in combination with vegetables or other legumes for a healthy, rich and tasty dish, it is well suited especially to fish or a good second course of red meat or game.
The typical recipe to prepare the Roveja is undoubtedly, the “farecchiata”, a kind of polenta made with this extraordinary legume, with a typical traditional taste that is very reminiscent of the peasant tables of central Italy, usually combined with fragrant sausages, sausages and pork products typical of the area. Furthermore, the “farecchiata” is also accompanied by excellent anchovies, in pasta or with a hand-made mixture, garlic and Evo oil for a unique, tasty and delicate dish that smells of history, love and dedication.