Vegetable caponata is one of the best Italian recipes to enjoy during summer when vegetables are fresh and full of flavor. It can be served warm or cold, and it lasts for several days in the refrigerator, making it the perfect dish for a quick dinner.
Caponata is a traditional Sicilian dish, and its original recipe is made using just eggplants, celery, onions and capers. Today, many variations of the Caponata recipe can be found not only in Sicily, but also throughout the whole southern Italy, and include many fresh garden vegetables, such as tomatoes, bell peppers and zucchini. Some define the Caponata as the Italian version of the French Ratatouille, but in their original versions they are quite different. The Sicilian caponata, in fact, has a distinctive sweet and sour flavor, for both vinegar and sugar are used in its original version; the ratatouille, on the other hand, is more of an uncomplicated vegetable stew, with fresh herbs beautifully enhancing the flavor of each ingredient.
My Vegetable Caponata recipe is different from the original Sicilian version, less elaborate but equally rich and full of flavor. I have been making it for the past 25 years, and I guarantee you that this easy vegetable recipe will make a fantastic side dish or antipasto.
Ingredients and Instructions:
1/3 cup olive oil
2 Roma tomatoes
3 medium potatoes
1 yellow bell pepper
1 red bell pepper
1 big yellow onion
2 medium eggplants
½ cup Italian parsley, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
salt and pepper
1. This dish can be prepared a day in advance and let "sit", allowing all the ingredients to blend and enhance their flavor.
2. Wash and dice all the vegetables, about 1 inch thick. Separately, slice the onion, chop the garlic and the parsley.
3. Pour the olive oil in a large pot; add the onion and garlic and sauté for a few minutes over medium fire, until the onion starts becoming translucent. Add all the vegetables, the chopped parsley, then season with salt and pepper and mix, so that the vegetables get evenly coated by oil and seasoning.
4. Cover and cook for about 45 minutes, or until all the vegetables are tender, stirring frequently.
5. When done, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve warm or cold along with any fish, meat or poultry dish. It can be also served as an excellent antipasto, and even mixed with rice or pasta (try with orecchiette!).