Roveja is a small pea that has been cultivated in Umbria for centuries. Some consider it to be the ancestor of the common pea or the "mother" of chickpeas, while others believe it is a distinct species. Over time its cultivation has been almost completely abandoned in favor of easier-to-harvest legume varieties, but it is now experiencing a revival fueled by renewed interest in heirloom legumes. La Valletta, a family-run farm spanning three generations, proudly cultivates roveja on the magnificent Colfiorito plateau. Nestled in the heart of the Umbria-Marche Apennines, this area boasts elevations ranging from 800 to 1000 meters above sea level and a unique terroir ideal for growing roveja. The roveja are vine-dried and harvested between July and August.
This gorgeous, multicolored pea has varying earth tones of dark brown, green, red, and grey. Its flavor is intense and hearty, with a delightful earthiness similar to fava beans. The roveja must be soaked for 24 hours, changing the water two to three times if possible, then simmered in abundant water with aromatics until evenly cooked with a firm, yet creamy texture (about three to four hours). Follow our founder Rolando's instructions for how to prepare slow-cooked beans.
In Umbria, roveja are traditionally used in soups. Add a pop of color and depth of flavor to classic minestrone or pasta e ceci. They are also delicious served as a contorno (side dish), flavored with crisped guanciale and grated pecorino, or IASA Anchovy Fillets and chopped parsley.