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Cook Time1 hr
Course: Side Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: summer, vegan, vegetable
Servings: 4


  • 2 medium eggplants cut into large dice
  • 2-3 large bell peppers cut into strips
  • 1 large onion roughly chopped
  • 1-2 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1-2 large potatoes peeled and diced
  • 3-4 tomatoes cut into large dice
  • Salt and pepper
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 200 ml (3/4 cup) extra virgin olive oil or more


  • Cut the eggplant into large dice (about 2cm or 3/4 inch) and toss with a good pinch of salt. Set in a colander, weighed down with a plate, to drain for about an hour.
    In a pot large enough to hold all the vegetables comfortably, heat the oil over gentle heat, then add the peppers. Sauté until the peppers are tender, taking care not to burn or brown them. Season them lightly as you go. Remove them with a skimmer or slotted spoon, leaving as much oil behind as you can manage.
    Add the chopped onion (and the chili pepper if using) to the remaining olive, and sauté until the onion is soft and translucent. Season with a pinch of salt as you go. Add the minced garlic and let that saute for a few moments.
    Add the eggplant, potato and tomato, along wit the chopped parsley. Mix once, then set the heat to low and cover. Simmer the vegetables until tender, about 20-30 minutes. Check on them from time to time, stirring once or twice and adding a spoonful of water if needed to prevent scorching.
    When the vegetables are tender, uncover the pot. The stew should be moist but not runny. Raise the heat if needed to boil off any excess liquid. Then add the sautéed peppers and the basil, along with the olives and capers if using, mixing them well but very gingerly into the stew. Taste and adjust for seasoning. Simmer for a minute or two more, then turn off the heat.
    Serve your cianfotta slightly warm or at room temperature.