Every summer, somehow I manage to get my hands on some giant zucchini despite not having a vegetable garden of my own. This year, one of my mother’s co-workers was blessed with an overabundance of zucchini and decided to share the wealth with her. Lucky for me, I was able to share to as my mother handed over some squash (she also gave me some cubano/frying peppers from her own garden).
My mother suggested making the same thing she was making every time we have a large amount of zucchini – giambotta. Giambotta is a hearty Italian vegetable stew chock full of fresh garden vegetables and herbs that stews over a long period of time until the flavors have developed. Everyone has their own recipes on what is thrown in. My mother, whom I’ve learned the recipe from, keeps hers simple (but still tasty) – zucchini, tomatos, onions, garlic, herbs. I throw in whatever I have around. I prefer to eat this as is, but sometimes my mom would serve it over marconi.
Because I had so much zucchini, I made two batches over the weekend. The first batch, was served as is. I topped my bowl off with some grated cheese and a drizzle of very good extra virgin olive oil. My husband ate his plain. For the second batch, I served it over macaroni. As much as I heart carbs, I actually prefer giambotta alone. You really get to appreciate the flavors melding together.
I think the key thing to making a flavorful giambotta is using as many fresh ingredients as you can. I used fresh zucchini, peppers, potatoes, garlic, onions, and herbs from my garden (basil, parsley, rosemary, thyme). I also threw in a can of sliced mushrooms, though I recommend fresh. The one ingredient both my mother and I prefer canned to fresh is diced tomatoes. I think the juice from canned tomatoes is more plentiful than fresh tomatoes and helpful to the dish.
Also, I think it helps to add something starchy. I would have added cannelini beans instead of potatoes, but the hubby dislikes them. The potatoes were a wonderful accompanient nonetheless.
This is a great way to use up your veggies during the summer. Either serve alone with some crusty bread or over some pasta. Be prepared for large batches of leftovers!
Overall rating – 5 stars
2-3 onions, diced
6 garlic cloves sliced thin (you may use more or less depending on your tastes)
1 extra large zucchini, diced
3-4 cubano/frying peppers, sliced thin
1 can sliced mushrooms, rinsed and drained or 1 cup fresh, sliced mushrooms
2-3 small potatoes, peeled and cubed
fresh herbs (parsley, basil, rosemary, thyme if you have)
garlic powder, salt, pepper, olive oil
Add a few teaspons of olive oil to large pot or dutch oven. Add onion and garlic and cook over medium to low heat until almost clear. Add zucchini and peppers, cook 5-10 minutes until they begin to soften and carmelize. Add diced tomatoes and potatoes and all seasonings. Cover slight and let cook over slow, low heat for about 45 minutes. Add canned mushrooms in the last five minutes. If using fresh, add with zucchini and peppers. Also, adjust seasoning as you go along. Potatoes should be cooked through when done. Drizzle with cheese and olive oil if desired.