Friday, August 13, 2010


[Italian Vegetable Stew]

Late in summer when local vegetables are abundant and gardeners are begging their friends to relieve them of some of their zucchini, tomatoes and string beans, it's time for Aunt Gloria's hearty giambotta.  You can get the necessary vegetables year round now but nothing compares to local garden-fresh.  This peasant dish is a close relative to the French ratatouille but less condensed and minus the eggplant.  This is a flexible dish so feel free to adapt to taste.  Aunt Gloria always put potatoes in her stew and served it as a side dish.  I generally omit the potatoes and serve the stew over pasta as a main course.  Either way, you can't miss.


4 cups diced ripe tomatoes
[or canned crushed tomatoes]
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cups large-diced zucchini
1/2 cup diced celery
3/4 cup diced carrots
1 diced bell pepper
1 minced clove garlic
2 diced medium onions
1 pound string beans
4 large potatoes, peeled and diced [optional]
3 cups water or chicken stock
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 to 8 fresh basil leaves
3 tablespoons olive oil
3/4 cup good red wine


Preheat oven to 330*.
Clean and prep all the vegetables.  I find it helpful to scrape some of the skin from the zucchini with a serrated knife before cutting.  Heat the oil in a heavy Dutch Oven and lightly brown the onions, celery, carrots and pepper.  After a few minutes add the garlic and remove from heat.  Add all the remaining ingredients, cover and return to medium heat to bring to a simmer.  

Give the stew a quick stir and then move it from stovetop to preheated oven.  Let it cook in the oven for 2 or even 3 hours.  The stew is done when all the vegetables are soft to the fork.

Serve over prepared farfalle or orecchiette pasta and enjoy with a loaf of really great peasant Italian bread!

1 comment:

  1. Sounds delicious!! Think I'll make this when the weather cools a little!! Thanks, Chris!!!