By some reason I have been eating more vegetarian than usual over the last couple of days. And I tell you something? I am not missing meat too much. It is curious because I am used to my portion of chicken or tuna in most of my meals. But, as I say, I am not struggling to get through this at all.
Anyway, I hope you like vegetables because you will love today’s recipe. Although its origins are rural, pisto is nowadays very widespread across Spain. Having accessibility to seasonal vegetables means we can enjoy this dish all year round. Another characteristic is that is so versatile that fits in any menu as a tapa, main course, summer dish, winter dish… Even it is an amazing fish or meat side!
At the same time, pisto is another household staple quite subjected to interpretation. Take my maternal grandmother: she keeps it simple by just using courgette, onion, pepper and tomato. And since she loves guindillas (Spanish chillies) she tends to make it hot. Sometimes too much, I have to say, but this is what makes it remarkable.
My recipe is not spicy (even though I like it) and is fully loaded of ingredients. I added a fried egg which is very common to see in southern regions such Castilla-La Mancha or Extremadura. I suggest you to dice every vegetable in advance so you only focus on controlling the process. Also, use fresh tomatoes if you get hold of good ones.
INGREDIENTS (SERVES 4)
Red pepper (half)
Green pepper (1)
Canned tomato (1 can)
Garlic clove (1)
Sweet paprika (1 tbsp)
DIRECTIONS FOR COOKING
Using a deep pan or a casserole, cover the base with a generous amount of olive oil (about 1/2 inch would be fine) and heat up at medium power, Throw the garlic already sliced and cook until it changes to honey-like colour.
Add the pepper, the onion and a pinch of salt. Stir and simmer until tender. Then, reduce to medium-low heat and add the leek. Cook for about five minutes or until becomes translucent.
3. Dump the aubergine already well diced. Increase the heat to medium-high at least for a couple of minutes to get it going. At this stage you may need more olive oil (the aubergine will absorb a lot) so add some carefully. Stir and cook at medium heat until all the dices shrink.
4. Minutes before the aubergine is done, throw the courgette bits and cook at medium heat. These ones will shrink much faster. After that, reduce to low heat and add more salt and the sweet paprika. Mix it up and simmer for 30 seconds.
5. Finally, tip the whole tomato can, blend and cook at low heat for about 15 minutes. Stir frequently to avoid the vegetables sticking in the base. Taste and add more salt (if necessary) and pepper. Remove from the heat when the tomato water is totally evaporated.
6. Serve in small plate as a tapa or in a bigger one as a main course. If you wish you can also put a fried egg on top (see top picture).