This is such an amazingly hearty dish. It is so fragrant and light and has sweet and sour tones to it. My Italian vegetable stew is loosely based on the traditional Sicilian ‘Caponata’ or aubergine stew. I say loosely as I add in a few extra vegetables and also leave a few items out. But the essence of a good caponata is still to be found in this dish.
I have been making versions of this dish ever this since my mother once made caponata for me when I was in my very early twenties. The only thing I wanted to do was create a one pot version that didn’t involve having to cook each vegetable separately. I am very fond of one pot dishes. Less hassle and way less washing up and usually they take less time. This dish comes together in 40 minutes and the only steps during its cook are to add the next vegetable to the pot. By the time the last elements are in the pot, it is time to sit down, relax and enjoy a cup of tea while the stew simmers away and the flavours come together.
As I eat this as a whole dish for lunch or dinner, I add in as many vegetables as I can: Aubergine, courgette, red and yellow peppers, celery and tomatoes with dried and fresh herbs and a sprinkling of vinegar.
Enjoy a bowl of this just after cooking but it is even better the next day. I like to serve it just warmed through (not hot) with a mixed salad on the side and maybe some crusty bread. Of course it is also gorgeous with pasta and potatoes.
This can also be served as part of a platter or brunch, works really well with chesses and meats as part of a charcuterie board. It is such a versatile dish.
My more traditional recipe for caponata can be found in the archives (or click the red link).
ITALIAN VEGETABLE STEW
I am listing the ingredients for this dish in the order to which I add them to the pot. I start with the aubergine and then give it a good stir, as I chop, I add to the pot. Couldn’t be simpler!
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 aubergine cut into cubes, around 250 g
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- pinch of salt
- 1 shallot finely sliced
- 1 large clove of garlic crushed
- 1 courgette cut into cubes, around 180g
- 1 red pepper cut into cubes
- 1 yellow pepper cut into cubes
- 2 stalks of celery sliced
- 220 g cherry tomatoes halved
- salt and pepper
- 1.5 tbsp red wine vinegar
- 2 tbsp water
Place a large saucepan/casserole dish over a medium heat. To the pot add the olive oil.
Once the oil is hot, add the aubergine, oregano and a sprinkling of salt. Let it gently fry for a few minutes, giving it a good stir every so often.
Add the sliced shallot and garlic and stir, let it cook for a minute while you cut the courgette. By the time you have cut it, you can add to the pot.
Next cut the celery and add to the pot.
Remember to keep stirring!
Chop the peppers and then add them to the pot.
Finally add in your halved cherry tomatoes, seasoning, vinegar and water.
Give it a good stir and then turn the heat down to a low simmer and pop the lid on and allow to cook for 20 minutes. By the time you have had a cup of tea and done a quick wash up of the knife and chopping board, the stew will be ready!