Pisto is one of the most typical dishes in Spain. Robertos mother cooks it for us several times while we are visiting since she knows it’s one of my favourite meals. This is real comfort food as its best. Take the tastiest and best quality vegetables you can find and fry it slow on low to medium heat. You can add any vegetable that you like and make it with your own touch but there are a few veggies that you can not leave out if you want a typical pisto. Zucchini, sweet peppers, tomatoes and onion all give the pisto its genuine taste. There are different local ways for how to cook it but mine is very similar to the one my mother in law makes. Beside the ingredients already mentioned I also add eggplant in mine. I like to eat pisto just as it is with a piece of bread on the side but you can also serve it together with something else. I finish a plate like the one in the picture in just a few spoons. The pisto gets its incredible flavour from the cooking process. It is important that you cook it slow and in relatively low heat since this makes the flavours develop properly. Do not try to speed the process up. You will then get a squashy texture and not at all the same flavour. Make sure to be careful when you are turning the vegetables around in the pan. It’s nice to still be able to detect which veggies you are putting in your mouth.
Pisto and I – A Match made in Heaven
All the lovely veggies that went into my pisto.
This is how it is supposed to look before adding the tomatoes.
Our pisto tasted great with a piece of bread and some Basque cheese.
Recipe for Pisto
Serves 4 ( or more if you make it as a side dish )
2 medium zucchini / courgette
1 small eggplant / aubergine
2 green pepper
1 red pepper
1 yellow onion
1 kg ripe tomatoes
4 tbsp olive oil ( or more, I use more )
salt ( I used about 1/2 tsp but it is better if you
add a little at a time since we all like it with different amounts )
Dice the eggplant and blend it with a little salt in a bowl. Leave it for 30 minutes. Before adding it to the frying pan wash off the salt. You do this procedure to get the bitterness out of the eggplant. The salt also makes the eggplant absorb less oil. Place the tomatoes in a sauce pan and cover with boiling water. Leave them in for a couple of minutes and then take the water out and let them cool a bit. Once they have cooled down you remove the peel. Chop the onion and dice the rest of the vegetables. Heat the oil in the pan and then turn the heat down to low – medium. Start by frying the onion for a few minutes and then add the peppers. Fry for a few more minutes and then toss in the eggplant and zucchini. Add the salt. Let it cook until almost done ( soft but not squashy ) turning them carefully around in the pan. In the meantime you chop the tomatoes. Once the pisto is almost done you toss in the tomatoes and cook it a little longer. It is ready when the tomatoes are really soft and squashy ( yes, the tomatoes should be squashy ). If you prefer the pisto a bit more done you just let it cook for a little longer. I normally cook my pisto under a lid since it keeps all the liquid inside the pan. I like a lot of liquid in it to go with the bread. Finally check the salt and add a little more if necessary. Enjoy!