Piatto di Verdure alla Lucana

Lucanian Vegetable Casserole

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Preparation info

  • Difficulty

    Easy

  • Serves

    4

Appears in

The Italian Regional Cookbook

The Italian Regional Cookbook

By Valentina Harris

Published 2017

  • About

Lucania is the old name for Basilicata. The name is said to derive from the Latin ‘lucus non lucendo’ (a dark grove with no light), since the area was covered with dense forests. Many regional recipes, customs and traditions are still referred to as Lucanian, including this ancient recipe for a fragrant vegetable casserole.

Ingredients

  • 2 large aubergines/eggplants
  • 2 large tomatoes
  • 300 ml/½ pint/ cups extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 large onions, sliced into thin rings
  • 2 large yellow bell peppers, cored seeded and cut in thick strips
  • a handful of fresh parsley
  • a handful of fresh basil leaves
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled
  • sea salt and ground black pepper
  • toasted ciabatta, to serve

Method

  1. Cut the aubergines into cubes. Spread the cubes out in a colander and sprinkle them generously with salt. Stand the colander in the sink. Fit a plate over the aubergines, put a weight on top and leave them to drain for about 1 hour.

  2. Meanwhile, blanch the tomatoes. Cut a cross in the base of each one, put them in a heatproof bowl and pour over boiling water to cover. Leave for 30 seconds or until the skin starts to peel back from the crosses. Drain the tomatoes, peel them, cut them into cubes and discard the seeds.

  3. Heat the oil in a large, shallow pan. Add the onions and fry for 6-8 minutes until just starting to soften but not browned.

  4. Rinse the aubergine cubes, pat them dry with kitchen paper, then add them to the onions. Cook, stirring often, for 5 minutes, then stir in the bell peppers and tomatoes. Season and simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Chop the parsley and basil with the garlic. Add the mixture to the pan and stir to mix. Cook, uncovered, for about 45 minutes, until the mixture is thick and flavoursome.
  6. Serve hot or cold with toasted ciabatta.