Comfort Food – Spanish Style (Servings: 4)
Pisto is also known as Pisto Manchego due to its origins in the La Mancha area of Spain. Although thought to be connected with Cervantes, it is actually derived from a meal served at the royal wedding of the Sultan Harum-al-Rasid to the princess Al-Buram. Harum is the son of the Sultan known to many from the “Arabian Nights”.
My Spanish mother-in-law describes pisto as “una mezcla” a mixture of ingredients. The shepherds in La Mancha made meals from available vegetables. Every abuela (grandmother) in Spain has their own unique recipe. This may explain why every recipe for pisto is different. Versions feature; eggplant, peppers, onion, zucchini, and tomatoes. The specific ingredients are up to you. Typically eggs are fried on top. Some versions even add chicken, although for me, that takes the meal too far from its roots.
Don’t over think it. Remember the shepherds in Spain made this while tending their flocks in the field.
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sized onion diced
3 garlic cloves
1 green pepper diced
1 red pepper diced
1 zucchini diced
2 pounds tomatoes peeled
Salt and Pepper to taste
optional: 4 eggs
In a large pan heat the olive oil over moderate heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until the onion is translucent about 5 minutes. Add the peppers and zucchini and cook for another 3 minutes, stirring often.
Reduce the heat to low. Add the tomatoes and simmer gently until the juices have evaporated, about 30 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. If desired, eggs can be added at this point. Allow the whites to cook through.
The eggs can be fried separately if preferable. I like to cook them right in the pan on top of the vegetables. They cook up very quickly and it saves you from having to clean another pan!
This is pure comfort food and can be eaten at any time of day. Hot or cold, it doesn’t matter. Eat it as a leftover, even better. This gives the flavors time to fuse together. It is a great meal for vegetarians and, if you lose the egg, vegans too.
- Boiling the tomatoes while the other ingredients are cooking loosens the skin for easy peeling.
- Peeling the zucchini makes the meal more appealing to children
- Total time – 1 hour