The French word fricandeau describes a veal dish with sauce. In the dialect of Rome, transliterated into fricandò, it came to mean a medley, a hodgepodge, and, metaphorically, a messy situation. From there it became the name of a dish of widely assorted vegetables, no longer related to the original French cooking term. A “mess” it may be, but a gloriously exuberant one.
It is a preparation so susceptible to improvisation and individual style that nearly every family I know makes a fricandò of its own. The one given here is mine. The vegetables I like to use are peppers, fresh tomatoes, eggplant, green beans, and zucchini. The flavor base is olive oil, onion, and garlic, chopped coarse. The vegetables cook together in a single pot, but as you will find in the recipe, they go in at different times. Basil and hot pepper provide the finishing touch of fragrance and spice.
© 1986 Marcella Hazan estate. All rights reserved.