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Ciambotta (Italian Vegetable Stew)

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“We serve this as a filling vegetarian main dish with some crusty bread, but it's also served as a vegetable side dish in Italy. Recipe developed by America's Test Kitchen. It's not as involved as it looks. Vegetables are cooked in two different pans to avoid a watery result. Cooking the eggplant in the microwave ensures it doesn't soak up oil like a sponge.”
READY IN:
50mins
SERVES:
6-8
UNITS:
US

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. PESTATA: Process all ingredients in food processor until finely ground, about 1 minute, scraping sides as necessary. Set aside.
  2. STEW: Toss eggplant with 1½ teaspoons salt in a bowl. Line surface of large plate with double layer of coffee filters or some parchment 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 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 browned bits.
  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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