In springtime, Roman rains give life to a new crop of peas, broad beans, and all sorts of herbs and greens, and the locals make the most of them in dishes such as this dish of braised peas with fusilli and ricotta
Had I written this column yesterday, it would have been full of Roman spring sunshine. Today it is not. I read the other day that Rome has 28% more rain per annum than London, but also a full 270 days of sunshine each year, which goes some way to explain the way in which rain comes down over this city, in sheets or bathtubs. “How do the Romans manage the deluge?” my dad asked my partner Vincenzo, who replied, as if stating the obvious: “They stay at home.”
It stops as suddenly as it starts, then the sun is back as if nothing happened: part miracle, part nonchalant teenager, drying everything off. This dance of rain and sun is one of the reasons Rome’s spring vegetables are the way they are: the sweetest peas and broad beans, great thistles, a chlorophyll-injected, grass-like vegetable called agretti, hops, borage as hairy as two-day stubble, ragged chicory, and all sorts of herbs and salad greens.