Fall Vegetable Ciambotta

This traditional Italian-style stew makes for a lovely side dish to this week’s pasta.

Ingredients:
¼ cup olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed of rough ends and chopped
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
3 carrots, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼ -inch-thick slices
1 eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
2 beefsteak tomatoes, sliced into large chunks, or 1 pint cherry tomatoes
3-4 Jimmy Nardello peppers, seeded and cut into ¾-inch slices
1 zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into ¼-inch-thick slices
4-6 Ozette fingerling potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
¼ cup olive oil
½ cup water
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper


Method:

1. Heat oil in a heavy pot over medium-high heat until it shimmers. Add leeks, celery, carrots, and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, about 10 minutes. Add eggplant and water and cook, covered, stirring occasionally, until eggplant is slightly softened, about 10 minutes.

2. Stir in tomatoes with juice and sweet peppers, then reduce heat to low and cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.

3. Meanwhile, cook zucchini in a 3- to 4-quart saucepan of well-salted boiling water until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes. Transfer with slotted spoon to bowl with green beans. Add potatoes to boiling water and cook until just tender, about 10 minutes. Drain and add to bowl with zucchini.

4. Add boiled vegetables to stew and simmer, stirring, until all vegetables are very soft, about 15 minutes. Season with generously with salt and pepper.

Variations: You can substitute green beans, spinach, or any other vegetables you have on hand for the eggplant and zucchini if desired.

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