Friday, November 6, 2009


Ciambotta, pronounced "chumbot", is a Southern Italian vegetable stew. You can say that in your best Sopranos accent. It's very much like an Italian version of the Proven├žal dish, Ratatouille.
I saw this recipe in the October 2009 edition of Gourmet & was intrigued by the beautiful photo. But, after reading the recipe thought that maybe it might be a bit bland. However, I read the reviews...most of which were raving & decided to try it.
Even with the only seasoning in this dish being garlic, salt & pepper, it is anything but bland. It's delicious. I know that it will be a regular for me.
It's also super healthy. Basically, a winter salad. Just warm veggies, cooked perfectly. The recipe calls for blanching several of the vegetables separately & then adding them into the stew later on. This step is essential, as it prevents everything from becoming a big soggy mess.

To make the stew, you will need 2 onions, 2 ribs of celery, 3 carrots, 4 cloves of garlic, 1 pound of eggplant, 2 red bell peppers, 3/4 pound of green beans, 1 1/4 pounds zucchini & 3/4 pound of potatoes.

Begin by chopping the onions. Place them in a prep bowl. Slice the ribs of celery in half lengthwise,

and then cut them into 1/4" slices. Add them to the bowl. Slice the fatter ends of the carrots in half lengthwise & leave the skinny ends whole.

Again, slice into 1/4" pieces & add to the bowl. Along with the 4 cloves of garlic, minced.

Set them aside for now. Bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil.

Slice the green beans into 2" pieces & blanch them in the boiling water for 3 minutes. Remove them from the pot using a slotted spoon, or a spider strainer & put them in a large bowl.

Slice the zucchini in half lengthwise & cut into 1" slices. Add them to the boiling water & blanch them for 3 minutes.

Remove them from the water & add them to the zucchini. Peel the potatoes, cut into large chunks & boil them for 10 minutes.

Again, add them to the bowl. Set all these aside. Heat 1/3 cup of olive oil in a heavy pot, or dutch oven, over medium high heat.

Add the onions, celery, carrots & garlic. Saute for 10 minutes, or until soft & beginning to brown. While the onion mixture is cooking, peel the eggplant & slice into large chunks.

Add them to the pot, along with a 1/2 cup water. Lower the heat to medium & cover the pot. Cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. While that is cooking, chop the bell peppers.

Roughly chop a 28 ounce can of peeled, whole tomatoes & reserve the juice. Add the peppers, tomatoes & juice to the pot & cook for 15 minutes, uncovered.

Lastly, add in the blanched vegetables, 1 teaspoon of sea salt & a 1/2 teaspoon of ground pepper. Cook another 10-15 minutes.

Serve with some freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired. It tastes even better on Day 2 & will keep in the fridge for 1 week.


Adapted from Gourmet magazine, October 2009
Serves 6-8

1/3 cup olive oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 celery ribs, halved lengthwise & cut into 1/4" slices
3 carrots, halved lengthwise & cut into 1/4" slices
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 pound eggplant, peeled & cut into 1" pieces
1/2 cup water
28 ounce can of whole, peeled tomatoes, chopped & juice reserved
2 red bell peppers, cut into 3/4" pieces
3/4 pound green beans, trimmed & cut into 2" pieces
1 1/4 pounds zucchini, halved lengthwise & cut into 1/4" thick slices
3/4 pound potatoes, peeled & cut into 1" pieces

Heat the oil in a large, heavy stockpot, or dutch oven, over medium-high heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots & garlic. Saute until beginning to brown {about 10 minutes}. Add the eggplant & water. Reduce the heat to medium, cover the pot & cook until the eggplant has softened slightly {about 10 minutes}.
Stir in the tomatoes, the juice from the tomatoes & the bell peppers. Reduce the heat to low & cook, uncovered for 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, bring a large pot of generously salted water to a boil. Blanch the green beans for 3 minutes. Remove to a large bowl, using a spider strainer, or slotted spoon. Add the zucchini to the boiling water & blanch for 3 minutes. Remove to the bowl with the green beans. Add in the potatoes & cook for 10 minutes, or until just tender. Drain & add to the bowl.
Add the boiled vegetables to the stew, along with 1 teaspoon of sea salt & a 1/2 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes.
Serve immediately, or even better, the next day. The stew will keep, refrigerated, for 1 week.

Click here for the printable recipe


Jackie said...

That looks really good. Thanks for the step by step photos.

Will def try this.

katie said...

Thanks Jackie :)

Anonymous said...

My grandparents were from Ripalimosani, and thye only way my gandmother would make this would be with zucchini, yellow squash, and onion, slowly stewing in her own homemade sauce.
Just before serving she would crack eggs on top of the Ciambotta and let the eggs poach. The warm egg yolk running into the stew was a flavor I always remembered from my youth.
I'm making a pot now...

katie said...


Wow. That does sound delicious! I would love to try an authentically made version from an Italian grandmother!

alli bee said...

Have enjoyed this since childhood as my godmother was Napolitan and made this all summer with fresh veggies, as I do now. What's with all the parboiling? I start with the olive oil, onions & garlic then add veggies in order of cooking time required and tomatoes (preferably fresh) to juice it up, splashes of water if needed to keep from sticking. Simmer slowly until all veggies are done to your preferred degree of mushiness. Much simpler to use just one pot. I'm going to try the egg, sounds like a winner.

katie said...

@Alli - The parboiling is Gourmet magazine's technique (that is where I discovered this recipe). Although it does create an additional pot to clean, I love this technique because unlike most vegetable based stews I've made, this one yields 'just tender' veggies. Which surprised me because I was expecting everything to be mushy, but it wasn't.
Of course, this is just one recipe developers method - keep doing what works for you!

Anonymous said...

I salute each veggie separately, then add them all back together into the pot and simmer it. My family is from Caiazzo, and thats how my grandmother made it. I am going to have to try the egg though!

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