Recipe: Lunch Box :: “Il Ciabotto” – Healthy Italian Stew

Appetibilis meets Sara Scutti, an amateur cook and Abruzzo cuisine food enthusiast. For our first chat about food and recipes, Sara chooses the “ciabotto” (tcha*botto) an easy, savoury, low-calories traditional recipe with local products. Who could ask for anything more?

Let Sara explain how she got the idea for this dish:

Appetibilis Contributor Sara Scutti
Appetibilis Contributor Sara Scutti

The “ciabotto”, (also “ciambotto”, or “cianfotta”, or…), is made of “humble” ingredients and it is a typical Abruzzo dish. It can be compared with Sicilian vegetable “caponata”, and it can be served either as a side dish or as a main course. In the old days the “ciabotto” was the main meal for farmers when working in the fields.

One summer evening I payed a visit at my father’s house , he was busy harvesting some tomatoes in his kitchen garden. It was almost dinner time and there you are, I had an idea! What about having something natural, fresh and healthy meal for my husband, who gorges on meat and pasta? My father had also picked some zucchini and eggplants so I thought about the ciabotto! On the way back home I stopped by the local grocer’s for some bread rolls and some sheep ricotta. I just added some fresh basil leaves from my balcony garden and some extra-virgin olive oil from my mother’s olive trees.

At the end of the dinner, my husband ate his “panino” to the very last crumble and said: “Well done, sweetheart! It was really delicious!”

Appetibilis: Sara's Ciambotto abruzzese

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

– 1 large eggplant – diced
– 2 medium zucchini – diced
– 2 medium potatoes – diced
– 1 yellow pepper – diced
– ½ white onion – sliced
– 200g cherry tomatoes – diced
– 2 ladles of vegetable broth (or water)
– extra virgin olive oil
– fine sea salt

Ingredients for plating
– 4 bread rolls – “rosetta”- a rose-shaped panino. [GF – replace rolls for gluten-free diet]
– 150g fresh sheep (or cow) ricotta. [V – replace with soy ricotta for vegan diet]
– 2-3 basil leaves for each roll
extra-virgin olive oil: qs

Wash, clean and dice the vegetables (about 1cm thick). Slice the onion in large pieces.

In a non-stick frying pan soften the onion in some olive oil, then add the pepper and let it sizzle for 2-3 minutes at medium-low heat (pepper need to cook for a longer time).

Add eggplants, zucchini and potatoes. Then pour a ladle of hot broth, season with a pinch of sea salt and let it stew at low heat for 15-20 minutes. If the vegetables should dry out, add another ladle of broth.

5 minutes before cooking time ends, add the tomatoes. (Tomatoes can be replaced by four spoonfuls of tomato sauce). When cooking time is over, the vegetables should be soft but still hold their shape.

Display tips:
Cut each bread roll tops – rolls will be the container for the ciabotto – remove some inner crumbs. Be careful to leave 2cm on the bottom and on the sides.

Now fill the bread rolls with the “ciabotto” and garnish each roll with a sheep-ricotta quenelle (1 table spoonful = 1 quenelle), some fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of extra-virgil olive oil. (For an extra savoury touch, add some Parmigiano cheese shavings).

Put the bread roll tops alongside and serve immediately.

(*)”Ingredient weight/key”
1 large eggplant 400g ca.
1 medium zucchini 130g ca.
1 medium pepper 150g ca.
1 medium potato 150g ca.
1 onion 120g ca.

Read the original post in Italian: Il Ciabotto abruzzese di Sara Scutti

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