12 oz eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2inch pieces
4 T extra-virgin olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb. russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 T tomato paste
2 1/4 c water
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, drained with juice reserved and chopped coarse
2 zucchini (8 ounces each), seeded and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
2 red or yellow bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
1 c shredded fresh basil
1. FOR THE PESTATA- Process all ingredients in food processor until finely ground, about 1
minute, scraping sides as necessary. Set aside.
2. FOR THE STEW- Toss eggplant with 1½ teaspoons salt in bowl. Line surface of large
with double layer of coffee filters and lightly spray with vegetable oil spray. Spread
eggplant in even layer over coffee filters. Microwave eggplant, uncovered, until dry to
touch and slightly shriveled, 8 to 12 minutes, tossing once halfway through to ensure that
eggplant cooks evenly.
3. Heat 2 tablespoons oil in Dutch oven over high heat until shimmering. Add eggplant,
onion, and potatoes; cook, stirring frequently, until eggplant browns and surface of
potatoes becomes translucent, about 2 minutes. Push vegetables to sides of pot; add 1
tablespoon oil and tomato paste to clearing. Cook paste, stirring frequently, until brown
fond develops on bottom of pot, about 2 minutes. Add 2 cups water and chopped
tomatoes and juice, scraping up any browned bits, and bring to boil. Reduce heat to
medium, cover, and gently simmer until eggplant is completely broken down and potatoes
are tender, about 20 to to 25 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over high heat until
smoking. Add zucchini, bell peppers, and ½ teaspoon salt; cook, stirring occasionally, until
vegetables are browned and tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Push vegetables to sides of skillet;
add pestata and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Stir pestata into vegetables and
transfer vegetables to bowl. Add remaining ¼ cup water to skillet off heat, scraping up
5. Remove pot from heat and stir reserved vegetables and water from skillet into
vegetables in Dutch oven. Cover pot and let stand for 20 minutes to allow flavors to meld.
Stir in basil and season with salt to taste; serve.
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