What is Ciambotta (or Jambotta as my Nana calls it)? Its an Italian specialty originating in Southern Italy near Calabria (which is where my Nana’s family is from). It is similar to the more widely known French dish called Ratatouille. The dish evokes wonderful summer memories of growing up with fresh vegetables from my family’s store. There was always an abundance of zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and eggplant. My nana would use these vegetables to make her delicious dish with savory olive oil and fresh Italian bread. To me, it could be an entire meal or a side dish. It is still one of my all time favorites!
Alot of people are afraid of eggplant or don’t know what to do with it, but this dish makes it so simple to prepare. It gets sweetened by the tomatoes and does not taste bitter at all.
Ciambotta is super easy to make and very versatile. You can add some sausage or chicken to make it a complete meal, or add some broth to make it more of a soup. However, don’t forget the Italian bread to soak up the yummy goodness!
- 1 onion, sliced thin
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 5 tablespoons olive oil
- a 3/4-pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
- 1 small zucchini, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into thin slices
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped
- 3/4 pound small ripe tomatoes, chopped coarse (about 1 1/4 cups)
- 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
- 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled (or 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning to replace thyme & oregano)
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves
Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to large cooking pan and heat at medium. Cook the onion until softened, stirring occasionally.
Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and heat to medium high. Add the eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally until the eggplant is softened (about 8 mins or so).
Stir in the zucchini and pepper and cook for about 12 minutes to soften.
Stir in the tomatoes and cook for about 5-7 minutes until vegetables are tender.
Add the seasoning (oregano, thyme, salt and pepper to taste) and cook, stirring, for about 1 minute. Next, stir in the fresh basil and combine.
Serve with fresh Italian bread. Enjoy!