Ciabotta (also known as ciambotta or giambotta ) is a common summer dish in Abruzzo, as well as all throughout southern Italy.
Similar to the French ratatouille, this vegetable stew is made up of seasonal Mediterranean vegetables slowly cooked down with tomatoes and finished with fresh basil.
My Nonna (a.k.a. Ma) made this dish every Summer for as long as I can remember. Although she called it peperonata (which is predominately peppers and onions), she prepared it more like ciabotta with the addition of other vegetables like eggplant and zucchini.
BUT, we won’t tell Ma that I changed the name of her famous Summer dish 🤐.
My family could always rely on Ma for containers filled with this vegetable stew, especially when the garden was overflowing with zucchini and eggplant.
She’d send my Nonno out to the garden to pick all the good stuff, while she spent hours in the kitchen (a place she truly loved to be) preparing this dish and many more. Basically, my Nonno was the gardener and Ma was the chef (and not a day passed where Ma didn’t yell at Nonno for bugging her while she was trying to cook).
Ciabotta – Italian Vegetable Stew
INGREDIENTS: (serves 3-4)
1 large zucchini (diced)
1 large eggplant (diced)
1 orange pepper (diced)
1 red onion (diced)
4 garlic cloves (minced)
796ml can fire roasted tomatoes (or other canned tomatoes)
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp sea salt (add more to taste)
Black pepper to taste
Handful of fresh basil
1. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan, then add the onion and garlic. Cook at medium heat until the onions are translucent. Keep stirring to prevent the garlic from burning.
2. Add in chopped vegetables along with the canned tomatoes and salt. Simmer on low for 1 hour. If the liquid reduces too much, add a little water.
3. Taste and season with more salt if needed and black pepper.
4. Add a handful of torn basil, drizzle with a little extra virgin olive oil, mix and serve.
This dish is dedicated to my Ma… Thank you for passing on your love of cooking to me – and inspiring me to create traditional Italian dishes that bring back fun family memories.