Friday, March 8, 2013

Carmela Soprano's Giambotta - Meatless Vegetable Stew

Friday in Lent.
Time to eat fish.
Or a nice vegetarian dinner.

Whenever I want a taste of what I had as a kid, I turn to Junior's chapter The Soprano Family Tradition in Artie's The Sopranos Family Cookbook.
Nice basic dishes that folks off the boat survived on until they settled into the country.
Nothing fancy, just healthy and filling.
Lots of pasta with seasonal vegetables.

And there's nothing wrong with that.
It doesn't seem there's a year that goes by without some doctor saying that the Mediterranean diet is the healthiest.

Families used to be bigger, so this recipe feeds eight.
Perfect if you're having company.
If not, stews and soups always taste great reheated.

Some folks find eggplant has a bitter taste.
Slice the eggplant about 1/2 inch thick and place the slices on a paper towel.
Sprinkle the slices with salt and let sit 15 minutes.
Then wipe off the salted surface.
It helps.

If you don't have fresh basil - and my Ma didn't - a tablespoon of dried will do the job.


Serves 8

In a dutch oven place
2 Tablespoons olive oil
2 medium red bell peppers, cored, seeded, and cut into bite-sized pieces
2 large tomatoes, cored and cut into small pieces
2 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces
1 medium eggplant, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 large onion, diced
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 Cup water

Cover and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes.
Remove from heat and stir in
4 or 5 fresh basil leaves
Serve hot or at room temperature.

Would I make Giambotta again?
Sure, with dried basil, like Ma used to make.
And she'd serve this with pasta, rice or polenta.
Crusty bread is nice, too.

One recipe down.  Thirty-six more to go. 

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