Italian Lunch Box :: “Il Ciabotto” a Healthy Veggies 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, savory, low-calories traditional vegetarian recipe, made 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!”

Recipe: Ciabotto Veggies Stew

Sara's Ciabotto Recipe
  • Author’s Recipe: Sara Scutti
  • Category: Soup, Stew
  • Cuisine: Italian, Abruzzo
  • Keywords: Ciabotto, Veggies Stew, Healthy, Vegetarian
  • Servings: 4
  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Difficulty: Easy


  • 1 large eggplant – diced (1 large eggplant is about 400 g)
  • 2 medium zucchini – diced (1 medium zucchini is about 130 g)
  • 2 medium potatoes – diced (1 medium potato is about 150 g)
  • 1 yellow pepper – diced (1 medium pepper is about 150 g)
  • ½ white onion – sliced (1 onion is about 120 g)
  • 200 g cherry tomatoes – diced
  • 2 ladles of vegetable broth (or water)
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • sea salt (fine)

Ingredients for plating

  • 4 bread rolls – “rosetta”- a rose-shaped panino. [GF – replace the rolls for gluten-free diet]
  • 150 g fresh sheep (or cow) ricotta. (Substitute for Vegan friendly)
  • 2-3 basil leaves for each roll
  • extra oil


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 (check in case the bell pepper needs 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.

Plating Tips

Cut each bread roll tops and remove some inner crumbs. Be careful to leave 2 cm on the bottom and on the sides, (the rolls will be the container of your stew).

Place the bread on a plate or a board and fill the rolls with the “ciabotto”; garnish each roll with a ricotta quenelle (1 table spoonful = 1 quenelle), some fresh basil leaves and a drizzle of extra-virgil olive oil.

For an extra savory touch, add some Parmigiano cheese shavings.

Put the bread roll tops alongside and serve immediately.

Buon Appetibilis!

  • Ciabotto Abruzzese presentation (Healthy Veggies Stew)
  • Ciabotto Abruzzese presentation (Healthy Veggies Stew)
  • Ingredients Ciabotto Abruzzese (Healthy Veggies Stew)
  • Ingredients Ciabotto Abruzzese (Healthy Veggies Stew)

Here’s Sara’s recipe in Italian for “Il Ciabotto abruzzese“.

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