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Leafy arugula

Arugula (American English) or rocket (Commonwealth English) is a type of leaf vegetable, for culinary purposes considered a sort of lettuce.

Scientifically, it consists of three species: Eruca sativa, Diplotaxis tenuifolia and Diplotaxis muralis. It is occasionally known by its French name roquette or Italian names rucola or rughetta.

Rocket has been grown as a vegetable in the Mediterranean area since the Roman times; it was considered to be an aphrodisiac. Still, it was not cultivated on a large scale and not scientifically researched until the 1990s. It was usually collected in the wild. Nowadays, it is cultivated in various places, especially in Veneto, and available in all of Europe.

Rocket is especially used in salads, but also cooked as a vegetable with pasta or dry meat. In Italy its use for pizzas is also common; in this case it is added only after the baking. It is rich in vitamin C and iron.

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