Today since so many of you love Italian cuisine, I'm featuring CAPONATA which is an Italian stew. Cooked in a thick and rich tomato sauce, Eggplant, Zucchini, Yellow Squash and Red Bell Pepper are the main focus. It is a wonderful side dish and one I have made for years. Some folks make it with only Eggplant but I choose to make it with the squashes and bell pepper. Since Zucchini and Yellow Squash cook quickly, timing is of the essence. Using Fresh Basil enhances the flavor and makes it a true Italian dish. I like to sprinkle freshly grated Parmesan Cheese over it. The dish is high in potassium, Vitamin B6, B12, B2, and helps regulate blood pressure. Listen, you can't get enough veggies in your diet and Caponata covers so many. Have it on the side with your pasta dish or any main course. It's easy to make and so delicious.
CAPONATA (ITALIAN VEGETABLE STEW)
2 large Eggplant, cut into 1 inch cubes 2 large Red Bell Pepper, cut into 1 inch cubes 2 large Zucchini, cut into 1 inch cubes 2 large Yellow Squash, cut in to 1 inch cubes 1 large Sweet Onion, roughly chopped 4 cloves Garlic, minced 1/2 of a bunch of Flat Leaf Parsley, chopped 2 Tablespoon Capers 1 cup sliced pitted Green Olives 1 heaping teaspoon dried Oregano 3 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar 1/4 cup Cabernet Red Wine 1 - 32 ounce can Fire Roasted Crused Tomatoes 3 Tablespoons Braggs Liquid Amino Salt and Pepper to taste 1/2 cup Fresh Basil, sliced very thin 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil Shredded Parmesan Cheese (garnish and optional)
1) Place 3 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large sauce pan (size of a soup pot) over medium heat and add the Onions. Cook them until translucent and then add the garlic. Stir in for one minute, making sure the garlic does not brown. Add the Eggplant, Red and dried Oregano. Mix thoroughly and cook over medium heat for around for 4 - 5 minutes so it can brown on both sides. Add more Olive Oil if it becomes too dry. 2) Throw in the Red Bell Pepper, drained Capers, Green Olives, Flat Leaf Parsley and Apple Cider Vinegar. When the Vinegar evaporates add the Fire Roasted Tomatoes, Braggs Liquid Amino, Red Wine and turn the heat from medium to simmer and cook until the Eggplant and Red Bell Pepper are tender, approximately 20-30 minutes. 3) Add the Zucchini and Yellow Squash, when the other vegetables are tender, and cook for 15 minutes longer. The vegetables should be firm with a little crunch (except for the Eggplant should be soft). Sprinkle the Fresh Basil all over the Caponata and stir it in. Save some for garnish on top of each serving. Add Salt and Pepper to taste. 4) When serving, drizzle some Extra Virgin Olive Oil on top and some Parmesan Cheese (optional) and an Italian baguette. Serve hot.