Pisto Manchego is, as its name reveals, a dish that is said to come from the autonomous region of Castilla-La Mancha –the home of Don Quixote–. It has however spread around the country and can be found almost anywhere, with each place having its very own secret recipe. It is made of tomatoes and other seasonal vegetables, which are usually onions, garlic and green peppers, but can also include aubergines, courgettes or red pepper.
It can be eaten as a main dish, often with fried eggs and either rice or bread. However, it is also often served as a tapa in a casole or on a toast. The following recipe is a pisto with aubergines which won’t disappoint you. As most Spanish savoury dishes, it all starts with a sofrito.
A typical aubergine and tomato recipe
- 1 large onion
- 4 garlic cloves
- 6 tbs olive oil
- 1 tbs salt
- 1 aubergine
- 1 green pepper
- 1 courgette
- 4 large tomatoes (or a tin of tomatoes)
- A few grinds black pepper
- 1/2 tsp smoked paprika
- 1 tsp sugar
Peel and roughly chop the onion. Peel and finely chop the garlic.
Place a non-stick pan over medium heat with the olive oil. Fry the onion and garlic for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add a bit of the salt.
Meanwhile wash, remove tops/core and roughly chop the aubergine, pepper and courgette. Add all to the onions with the rest of the salt and cover with a lid. Leave for about 15-20 min, until ingredients have softened and the aubergine is completely cooked. Stir occasionally.
Roughly chop the tomatoes (and peel for a better texture) and add to the pan with the black and smoked pepper and sugar. Simmer for another 5-10 minutes.
Serve with boiled rice and fried eggs or as a tapa on toast.
Sometimes aubergines can have a bitter taste. But this can be easily avoided by slicing them in half lengthways and covering the surface with salt for about 15 min, until the salt has turned into water. This will extract any bitter taste and ensure your aubergines taste delicious. Wash again before cooking.