Italian Vegetable Stew – Ciambotta

It seems that winter is really on it’s way – they are calling for snow flurries tonight.  It is that time of the year when I pull out all those hot soup recipes.  Everyone just feels better knowing that a bowl of hearty, hot soup is just a few minutes away. 

I read this recipe in the October issue of Gourmet (RIP) and had to try it.  The results were delicious.  The mixture of different vegetables, when cooked al dente, is delicious, rustic and satisfying to cook.

Printable recipe

Italian Vegetable Stew – Ciambotta

 Ingredients

1/3 cup olive oil

2 medium onions, chopped

2 celery ribs, cut into ¼ inch slices

3 carrots, diced into ¼ inch pieces

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 ¼ pounds eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

½ cup water

28 ounce can diced tomatoes

2 red bell peppers, cut into ½ inch pieces

¾ pound of green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces

1 ¼ pounds zucchini, cut into ¼ inch pieces

¾ pounds potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 inch pieces

 Method

  1. In large heavy pot heat olive oil. Saute, about 10 minutes, onion, celery, carrots, garlic.
  2. Add eggplant and water. Cook covered until eggplant is soft.  About 10 minutes.
  3. Stir in tomatoes and peppers. Cook on low for 15 minutes.
  4. In boiling water blanch green beans about 5 minutes.  Remove
  5. In boiling water blanch zucchini about 5 minutes. Remove.
  6. Cook potatoes in boiling water till tender, about 10 minutes. Remove.
  7. Add beans, zucchini and potatoes to stew and cook about 15 minutes.
  8. Season with salt and pepper.  Serve.

Eggplant Parmesan Soup

While thumbing through a magazine I came across an advertisement from Berolli that contained a recipe for Eggplant Parmesan Soup.  The title and the beautiful photgraph caught my eye and I stopped to read the advertisement.  Some of the most spectaular dishes I have served have come from advertisements so I decided to read on.   Since the recipe was designed to promote Bertolli products it contained a very specific product list in the decsription of the ingredients.  When I read promotional types of recipes a number of thoughts go through my head: did they pick a specific ingredient because it helped create a better dish or because it was on their promotion list, are there substitutes that would taste better, are they trading convenience for flavor, could the idea of this dish be improved.

The concept of Eggplant Parmesan Soup appealed to me.  While I tend to be fairly lazy and have no objection to the  use of prepared ingredients, it tends to be when a fresh item is not available or the pre-packaged is just better than I can readily make.  There didi not appear to be any ingredient in the promotional recipe that could not be changed so I  set off to create my own recipe.

Printable recipe

Eggplant Parmesan Soup

 Ingredients

1 pound eggplant, peeled and diced

1 medium onion, diced

1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes

2 cups vegetable stock

2 teaspoons dry basil

2 teaspoons dry oregano

Salt

Pepper

4 ounces shredded mozzarella cheese

4 tablespoons Italian seasoned dry breadcrumbs

4 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

 Method

  1. Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat.  Saute the eggplant, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes.
  2. Add onion and continue cooking 7 to 10 minutes.  The eggplant and onions should be soft and golden brown.
  3. Stir in tomatoes, stock, seasonings.
  4. Bring to a boil over high heat.  Reduce to a simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.  Stir frequently.
  5. To serve:  Pour soup into oven-proof bowls, top with bread crumbs, mozzarella and parmesan.  Place under the broiler for about 2 minutes, till the cheese is melted and golden.