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Ciambotta (Italian Vegetable Stew)

October 17, 2012

This recipe was a fantastic way to use up a lot of different leftover vegetables that we got in our CSA bag in the last 2 weeks! I was initially just looking for recipes in Gourmet Today that called for eggplant, but this was even better – I also had leftover celery, carrots, zucchini, and red peppers in the fridge. I cheated a bit with the green beans and used frozen ones rather than buying fresh, but I doubt this made much of a difference. :)

Make sure you start the water boiling for the green beans right after the onions start cooking so that all the boiled vegetables will be done by the time you need to add them to the sauteed veggies.

As you can see in the picture, the stew is super thick… you can pretty much eat it with a fork! My husband’s comment upon tasting it was “who knew that something made with just a bunch of vegetables could taste so savory and hearty?” All you need is some crusty Italian bread and you have a light yet warming fall supper.
Ciambotta

Serves 6 to 8

Ingredients

  • 1/3  cup olive oil
  • 2  medium onions, chopped
  • 2  celery ribs, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 3  carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 4  garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 1¼  pounds eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2  cup water
  • 1  (28-ounce) can diced Italian-style tomatoes
  • 2  red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into ¾-inch pieces
  • Salt
  • 3/4  pound green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1¼  pounds zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch slices
  • 3/4  pound boiling potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 1/2  teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Heat oil in a 7- to 8-quart heavy pot over moderately high heat until hot but not smoking. Add onions, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 10 minutes. Add eggplant and water and cook, covered, until eggplant is slightly soft, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.
  2. Stir in tomatoes with juice and bell peppers, reduce heat to low, and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, bring a 3- to 4-quart saucepan of well-salted water (1 tbsp salt) to a boil. Add green beans and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon or skimmer to a large bowl. Add zucchini to boiling water and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer with a slotted spoon or skimmer to bowl with green beans. Add potatoes to boiling water and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and add to green beans and zucchini.
  4. Add boiled vegetables to tomato mixture and simmer, stirring, until all vegetables are very soft, about 15 minutes. Stir in 1½ teaspoons salt and pepper. Serve with crusty bread.

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