Mediterranean cuisine is very popular all over the world for being known as a healthy, varied diet, rich in fresh ingredients… In addition to being an icon of good eating. And one of the most influential cuisines of this diet is the Spanish cuisine. Therefore, in our recipe books we find dishes as good as the Pisto Manchego, a traditional and humble dish consisting of a stew of different vegetables. If you have not tried it, you are probably wondering how a simple vegetable stew can be so famous. Well, to answer that question, we simply bring you its recipe.
As always happens in the kitchen, especially in dishes as traditional as this one, in each house it is prepared in a different way. That is why we can find an infinite number of ratatouille recipes. As well as many other variations, such as including meat or a fried egg, in order to elaborate a much more complete dish.
We want to show you the recipe that has always been made at home. As my grandmother used to make it, to whom the ratatouille was wonderful. But we will also show you many more options so that you can innovate with this magnificent and versatile dish.
But before we start, let’s go with a bit of history, do you know the origin of ratatouille?
We have already mentioned that ratatouille is a typical dish of traditional Spanish cuisine. Since it is such an ancient and humble recipe, it is very complicated to get to its origin. Although there are some details that seem to be clear, such as its origin. We can even find it in its name: Pisto Manchego.
This dish is originally from La Mancha, perhaps it could have been elaborated for the first time in medieval times, as the way in which the peasants used the leftovers of the harvests.
It has always been very common for peasants and farmers to cook outdoors, using their own crops as ingredients.
Just with the end of this era and, thanks to the discovery of America, and incorporated into this dish ingredients so characteristic of ratatouille as tomatoes and peppers. Two essential ingredients that, nowadays, cannot be missing in any authentic Manchego ratatouille.
Nowadays, the Manchego ratatouille, besides being an icon of Spanish cuisine, is also well known internationally. And it is becoming more and more famous thanks to the great popularity of Mediterranean cuisine.
Although there is a ratatouille for each house, some ingredients are basic to elaborate an authentic Pisto Manchego, like for example the bell pepper, the onion, the tomato… Although in addition to these, we can include many other vegetables, depending on the season or even what we have in the fridge.
For this recipe, we are going to use garlic to flavor the dish, onion, green peppers, tomatoes and zucchini as main ingredients. And, finally, a pinch of sugar to balance the acidity of the tomatoes. In addition to salt, oil and a pinch of pepper if you like it. These are the ingredients with which pisto manchego has always been made in my house. Although, as we were saying, such a versatile dish admits a multitude of ingredients. And in some occasions it was also included an eggplant if there was one, green beans, carrots… Although they were not among the classic ingredients of the ratatouille.
Regarding the peppers, you can also use red or yellow peppers, depending on your taste. And, as for the tomatoes, try to use tomatoes that are well ripe. This way the result will be much better.
Other less common ingredients
The pisto manchego is nothing more than a vegetable fritada. A potpourri of vegetables that we can elaborate with whatever we have at hand. That is why it is such a versatile dish. And, in addition to the classic ingredients we discussed above, we can include many others. For example:
- Fried egg, which deserves to be the first, because it is the best accompaniment for ratatouille.
- With meat, such as chicken, beef, pork… Always cut in bite-sized portions to mix with the ratatouille. Or, serving the ratatouille as a garnish for the meat.
- Cooked chickpeas, with which you will obtain a super complete and forceful dish.
- Green beans
- Serrano ham
Let your imagination run wild and prepare the ratatouille with the ingredients you like the most until you find your favorite version.
How to make the authentic Pisto Manchego
But if what you want is to try the classic Pisto Manchego, the traditional one, let’s go with the most traditional recipe. We have already mentioned the ingredients that we are going to use, now we just need to see how to prepare it.
The first thing we are going to do is to peel the tomatoes. This way our ratatouille will have a much smoother texture once ready, and we will avoid finding bits of tomato skin, which may not be very pleasant. To peel the tomatoes in an easy way we will make a cross cut in the base, and we will scald them about 20 seconds in boiling water. This time is more than enough for the skin to come off easily.
Once the tomatoes are ready, we can start with the recipe itself. And, as all the sofritos, the first ingredients that we will use are the onion and the garlic. We chop them into small cubes and, in a frying pan with a good splash of oil, we cook the onion first, over medium-low heat. When transparent, add the garlic, then the bell pepper, the zucchini and the tomatoes. All chopped in the same way: in small cubes not too big.
While the ratatouille is cooking we will move it from time to time, until we incorporate the tomatoes. Then we will let it cook for about an hour and a half over very low heat. This is the key of a good pisto manchego.
Once ready, we can serve, crowning our ratatouille with a fried egg or a boiled egg. And, of course, accompanying it with a good bread. I assure you that you will need it.
Traditional Pisto Manchego recipe
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 onion
- 2 Green Peppers
- 4-5 Tomatoes
- 1 Zucchini
- 1 tsp Sugar
- Black Pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- We start by putting a pot of water on the fire. Prepare the tomatoes by making a cross cut at the base. Bring to a boil, and when it starts to boil put the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 15 – 20 seconds. This way we will peel them more easily.
- We continue peeling the onion and garlic. Wash the rest of the vegetables and chop them into small cubes. Set aside separating each vegetable.
- In a frying pan, heat a good splash of oil and start frying the garlic and onion over low heat for 15 minutes. Add the finely chopped bell pepper and cook again for 15 minutes. Finally, add the zucchini and the tomato, finely chopped, season to taste and, with the lid on, let it cook for an hour and a half over low heat. In the meantime, stir from time to time.Taste it in case you need to correct the acidity of the tomatoes with a pinch of sugar.
- After that time, turn up the heat a little and let it cook for 15 minutes more, or until you see that all the water from the vegetables has evaporated.Now you have a delicious Manchego ratatouille ready.
Tips and Tricks to get a great ratatouille manchego ratatouille
As everything in the kitchen that you get a good pisto manchego is a matter of practice. Although the truth is that it is a very simple dish to elaborate.
- Something fundamental, when we want to obtain a dish that makes the difference, is to use fresh and quality ingredients. It is therefore important that the vegetables you use are as organic as possible. I assure you that you will notice it in the flavor.
- When it comes to cooking, it will be better if all the vegetables are cut in the same size. The most common is to cut them in not very large cubes, respecting this cut with all the vegetables included. In addition, it is very important to cook it over low heat. Undoubtedly, the cooking will be what marks an authentic pisto manchego.
- Remember to add a pinch of sugar to correct the acidity of the tomato. Since, when cooking it for so long and over low heat, and with a large quantity of tomatoes, it can have an acid touch. Taste it and correct it with sugar to give balance to the flavor of the ratatouille.
If you follow our recipe and these tips, you will definitely have a great ratatouille, and you won’t stop dipping bread in this stew!
And with this we finish our delicious recipe of the traditional pisto manchego. If you liked it, remember to leave us your comments, ideas, opinions… We love to read them! And don’t forget that you can also follow us on social networks to keep up to date with all our publications. You will find us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram.