Pisto Manchego, a hidden culinary gem!
My family is originally from Spain, so I feel a strong bond with the country’s culture, especially at the table. If you think about it, gastronomy is a treasure, and home-cooked meals are true gems, hard to find these days.
Today I want to share with you a personal interest I have with a specific dish: Pisto Manchego. This is peasant food, uncomplicated but richly flavored. Pisto has been around for centuries, but with today’s food trends, the dish could easily be the new thing.
Here’s all you need to know about this healthy, vegetable-based dish, and all its possibilities. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
So, Pisto Manchego is a vegetable dish. Zucchini, bell peppers, onion,
Everyone makes Pisto Manchego differently. Every family in Spain follows their grandma’s recipe so, no pisto is alike. The main idea is to use any vegetable, ripe and ready to pick, from the back-yard orchard.
People in southern Spain, in Andalucía, often add potatoes and eggplant to their pisto. In the east, in the Province of Murcia, adding an egg to the mixture is common, which changes its texture. You’ll find people throwing tuna in there too, making it a whole meal!
And there’s controversy too. Traditionalists will cook each vegetable separately to ensure every ingredient is au point; others will toss everything together in a hot pan; some will add finely diced tomatoes while others might just pour over ready-made tomato puree; purists will only use tomatoes and bell peppers while unconventional enthusiasts will even add bits of bacon. Decisions, decisions.
The dish is so simple that every step counts. You can taste the care put into it. It’s also a blank canvas that allows lots of creativity. The aim is always the same: Serve something delicious to the ones you love.
Now, how do you eat it? Well, it’s up to you. You can enjoy this dish both warm or cold with a pair of fried eggs on the side or a nice piece of sausage. Always have fresh slices of artisan bread at hand.
The tangy tomatoes make this dish red wine friendly. Add pisto to your tapas repertoire and serve it in a traditional terracotta dish beside olives, cheese, cured hams, spicy potatoes and just enjoy the company. Talking about being a perfect host.
Fun Fact! Both tomatoes and bell peppers, the main ingredients for this Spanish dish, come from the Americas and only arrived in Spain in the 16th century.
My easy recipe:
1 green pepper
1 large eggplant (optional)
1 red pepper
2 to 3 cloves of garlic
4 to 5 ripe tomatoes
1 1/2 tsp. paprika ( I use sweet smoked paprika from Spain)
1/2 tsp. cumin (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Finely chop the eggplant without removing the skin, chop the cloves of garlic, green pepper, red pepper, onion, and tomatoes.
In a pan put a drizzle of virgin olive oil (I use extra virgin for more flavor). Slowly simmer (approx. 8 minutes) the pepper, onion, and garlic, add a little salt and pepper, remove them and drain well.
In the same skillet, sauté the eggplant and zucchini, until soft, add the sauteed onions, peppers, garlic and the tomatoes with Paprika (I use
When ready to serve, I usually add a fried egg in the center of the pan and let it set. (
Now you know, veggies can be exciting! Make your own Pisto Manchego and share your recipe with me. And don’t forget to browse around Diamonshopaholic.com for my views on jewelry, travel, food and more. Happy cooking!