DRIED WILD PEAS from Giampiero Bea
Roveja are a variety of Umbrian legume that are so historic there is evidence they were eaten by the Ancient Romans. These special, multicolored peas fell out of favor as mechanized farming began to take hold because the stalks lay close to the ground and thus are impossible to harvest by machine. All but forgotten well into the 20th century, Umbrian producers, such as the Bea family, have labored to bring this wild pea back from near-extinction. Roveja peas are recognized by Slow Food USA in their Arc of Taste, a living catalog of delicious and distinctive foods facing extinction.
The “Roveja” produced at the Bea estate grows in the Monti Sibillini part of the Appenine mountains that form the border between Umbria and the Marche. Nutritious and flavorful, they are also beautiful, with each pea bearing a different shade of color from brown to green to mustard to grey to siena and on and on. To enjoy a taste of Umbria, these peas can be prepared with guanciale, pecorino and gnocchi. They may also be added to winter soup or stews, as you would lentils.