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Pisto: Spanish Ratatouille

We had a wonderful Spanish college student stay with us for three months this spring. The whole family loves her; she's become a big sister to all our kids. She recently went back to Madrid and we miss her so much! One thing she has taught us is how to make the wonderful dish pisto. It is incredibly easy, cheap and healthy. The only drawback is it takes a long time to cook however, it isn't complicated. Below is the traditional version she taught me. I am going to experiment with making this in a slow cooker and report back.

6 tablespoons olive oil, divided

2 medium onions, chopped

2 green peppers, diced

2 red peppers, diced

1 half large eggplant, diced

2 large zucchini, diced

1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes

Salt to taste, at least 1 teaspoon

Lots of freshly ground black pepper


1.5 cups rice, rinsed

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 clove garlic, minced

3 cups water or water + broth

6 eggs

Head's up: the total cook time for this is well over 60 minutes!

In a large pan, heat half the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions and cook until translucent about 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper. Lower the heat and continue to cook the onion until very soft, about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Pisto: Easy cheap dinner recipe


Meanwhile, in a separate pan, cook the green peppers in the remaining olive oil for about 20 minutes then add the red peppers and continue to cook another 20 minutes.

 Pisto: Easy cheap dinner recipe Pisto: Easy cheap dinner recipe

Add the eggplant to the onions and cook about 15 minutes. Then add the zucchini and cook about 10 minutes more. Combine both pans together (you might need a larger pot) add the crushed tomatoes and cook another 10-15 minutes.

 Pisto: Easy cheap dinner recipe Pisto: Easy cheap dinner recipe

While the vegetables are cooking (maybe halfway through), make the rice. You can make it however you like but here's the way Maria made it for us. Heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot. Add the rice and cook for a few minutes. If you like you can sprinkle in a little minced garlic--just don't let it burn (that makes it bitter). Add water or broth and stir well. You can cover and cook on low heat until the water is absorbed or cook it with the lid off stirring well and very frequently. This was new to me, it was almost like making risotto. I did have to add some additional water since the lid was off it evaporated. It was a bit more work but the rice came out nicely and wasn't sticky.

When the vegetables are nearly finished, fry up an egg for each person. Ideally the yolk should still be a little runny. Serve the vegetables on top of the rice and top each serving with a fried egg. 

Pisto: Easy cheap dinner recipe Pisto: Easy cheap dinner recipe

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