** I wrote this post originally in February of 2016, and since then have done a lot of work on both writing and photography. I’m almost embarrassed by my writing and photography from only a few months ago, but at the same time proud of my hard work and excited to see evidence of improvement. Such a teacher, I know. I have been meaning to come back to this entry for awhile. Pisto is one of my favorite foods, a constant in my repertoire. 6 months later, I finally re-photographed this delicious dish. Can you see the growth?
Have you ever heard of pisto? It’s the Spanish cousin of ratatouille. When I studied in Spain, it was my favorite dish my host mom would make for us. Nuria was the best host mom I could have asked for and an amazing cook! I wish I could blame her for my [significant] weight gain there but [not so] sadly it was due to my underage discovery of Spanish wine and pastries coupled with lack of sufficient exercise. There was a lot of dancing involved but apparently not enough! I learned my lesson though. Over indulge in wine and pastries while dancing after you hit the gym hard.
Nuria was so kind, funny, and warm. Her kids, Sylvia and Roberto, were wonderful too. Her sister Barbara and her dog Chico were actually living with us as well for part of the 4 months… 6 people in a tiny 2 bedroom flat in Madrid! We lost contact a while ago, and I wonder how they are doing. Perhaps after this I will continue my productive streak and try to find them on Facebook?
First, let’s check another item off of my list and get you the recipe for another easy, super healthy, delicious meal. I have archived this in small plates, but in all honesty I eat this as an entire meal. I always, always make extra to take to work for lunches in the days that follow. Traditionally, pisto is eaten cold, but I could go either way. I eat it warm most of the time because I don’t want to wait for it to cool (terrible, I know). However, you could easily make this ahead of time and serve it right out of the fridge for an easy appetizer or small plate. You can also toast the crostinis if you’re so inclined; toast them in the oven under the broiler for a couple minutes each side and they are good to go.
There are a lot of ways you can go with pisto. Poached egg on top? Stuffed into a grilled cheese? Rolled inside grilled eggplant? Get creative and let me know what you come up with!
Don’t skip the Manchego – the Spanish cheese really adds a delicious nutty note to the dish. And if you’re feeling extra ambitious, grab a Spanish Albariño wine (my fave!). You’ll use some in the pisto and you’ll want to drink the rest of the bottle for yourself. Try to share, but really, you’re doing the cooking so don’t feel like that’s necessary.
Pisto ManchegoPrint Recipe
- 1 red bell pepper, diced into 1/2in cubes
- 1 green bell pepper, diced into 1/2in cubes
- 1 yellow (or Spanish) onion, diced
- 4- 5 tomatoes, chopped
- 2 zucchini (about 2 lbs), sliced and halved
- 4 cloves garlic, diced
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 cup dry white wine
- 2 tbsp chopped parsley
- Manchego cheese, shaved (omit for vegan)
- Salt and pepper to taste
Heat a large, deep skillet over medium heat. Prepare the vegetables.
Add a little olive oil to the pan, and then add the onions and peppers. Salt. Saute for 8 - 10 minutes.
Add the garlic, pepper flakes and the zucchini, and continue to cook for another 5 minutes. A little more salt.
Add the tomatoes and the wine and bring to a boil.
Lower heat to a simmer. Allow the mixture to simmer, stirring occasionally, until the liquid has reduced, about 30 minutes. Pepper to taste.
Stir in chopped parsley, and top with Manchego (if using) and a squeeze of lemon.
Keeps up to 1 week refrigerated.