The ‘pisto manchego’ is our Spanish ‘ratatouille’, a super healthy and flavoursome traditional recipe which works equally well as a main or as a side dish.
Eating healthy shouldn’t ever be incompatible with great flavour and the pisto manchego proves this point like no other. Few recipes are as healthy and ‘hyper-vitamined’ as this one whilst offering such a deep, beautiful and delicate flavour.
This classic peasant dish from Castilla La Mancha is made all over Spain using a combination of diced and then pan-fried vegetables, in a similar fashion to the French ratatouille or the Sicilian caponata.
The pisto manchego is a prime example of seasonal cooking. So much so that there is not such a thing as a strict recipe to it, depending on the availability of seasonal veggies. Only two ingredients seem to appear in all the recipe versions: tomato and pepper. Every other ingredient is up to the cook and whatever it is available at the time, including garlic, onion, courgette or aubergine as the one we are preparing in this recipe. Of course, you can also add some diced ham, chorizo or bacon for a non-veggie version.
Go ahead and give it a go. The pisto manchego makes for a great main as well as it does for a fantastic side dish to accompany meat or even some fish-based courses. My favourite way to eat it? On toast and then topped up with a fried egg. Seriously delicious!!
- 1 Green pepper – chopped
- 1 Red Pepper – chopped
- 1 Courgette – diced
- 1 Aubergine – diced
- 4 Tomatoes – blanched, peeled and diced
- 2 Brown onion – peeled and diced
- 3 cloves Garlic – peeled and sliced
- 5 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Peel and dice the aubergine. Place it in a bowl and sprinkle some salt over it. Let it rest for half an hour so that the bitterness disappears. Repeat the same operation with the courgette, although keeping the skin on.
- Now blanch the tomatoes so that you can peel them easily. To do this, bring some water to boil and add the tomatoes. After a minute or two, take the them out and place them in a bowl with cold water and ice cubes. This way, we’ll stop them from cooking. Peel, dice and reserve.
- Peel and dice the onions. Slice the garlic. Chop the peppers.
- Heat some oil in a pan and start poaching the onion and the garlic over a low-to-medium heat.
- In a separate big pan, heat a little drop of oil and toss the pepper over a high temperature for a couple of minutes until slightly brown. Reserve.
- Wash and pat-dry the aubergine. Toast it until golden and reserve. Do the same with the courgette. When they become golden, add the peppers and the aubergines and keep cooking over a medium heat.
- Check the onions in the other pan. Once they are completely poached, add the diced tomatoes and keep cooking for another 10 minutes.
- Add the onions and tomatoes to the other ingredients, mix well, season to taste and cook for a final 5 minutes before serving.