Ciambotta alla Cilentana (Campania’s Ratatouille)

Cilento is an area in the south of Campania, and when I was there I enjoyed a dish called Ciambotta alla Cilentana. There are many versions of ciambotta, but here it is potatoes, eggplant, bell peppers, and tomatoes. It reminded me a lot of the French ratatouille (which usually does not have potatoes and would include zucchini), and ratatouille is usually cooked to a softer consistency.

Ingredients

eggplant (aubergine)

red bell pepper

potatoes

cherry tomatoes

basil, sage, rosemary, garlic

salt

extra virgin olive oil

Instructions

Cut the eggplant into chunks such that the chunks are about the same size and each piece has a bit of skin. Arrange the eggplant chunks on kitchen paper in a single layer, and sprinkle both sides with salt.

Peel the potatoes and cut them into chunks, again of uniform size. Heat olive oil in a frying pan and add the potatoes.

Cook the potatoes over medium high heat, stirring regularly, until they are tender inside and golden on the outside.

When they are golden, lift them out of the pan with a strainer…

…and allow them to loose excess oil on kitchen paper.

Clean the bell pepper and cut into chunks of uniform size. Add them to the same pan as the potatoes, adding more olive oil if needed.

Cook the bell pepper over medium high heat until starting to soften and slightly charred. Lift the bell pepper out of the pan with a strainer and allow to loose excess oil on kitchen paper.

In the meantime, the eggplant should have released a lot of water. Pat the eggplant dry with paper towels…

…and add to the same pan, adding more olive oil if needed.

Cook the eggplant over medium high heat, stirring regularly, until cooked through and nicely browned.

Lift the eggplant from the pan blot with kitchen paper to remove any excess oil.

Wipe the pan clean with kitchen paper. Add a bit of olive oil and garlic, rosemary, and sage.

Add the cherry tomatoes.

Cook over medium heat for a couple of minutes.

Add the potatoes, bell pepper and eggplant to the pan, season with salt, and stir to combine. Remove the sage, rosemary, and garlic.

Serve warm or at room temperature, garnished with basil.

Flashback

DSC02264

Rosenmuskateller is a rare dessert wine from Alto Adige/Südtirol, the German speaking north-east of Italy. It is made from the rare grape of the same name, related to other muscat grapes but with the distinctive quality that it smells of roses! I thought it would be great to pair this with a dessert that includes rose water, which is flavored water made by steeping rose petals in water. And so I came up with blackberry rose water sorbet, and guess what? It was fantastic. The sorbet by itself because it has an amazing rose scent and the rose works very well with blackberries, but paired with a glass of Rosenmuskateller it was heavenly.

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8 thoughts on “Ciambotta alla Cilentana (Campania’s Ratatouille)

  1. Delightfully fresh and, dare one say it, healthy! Largely dependant on the quality of the produce and a fine balancing act with the herbs . . . . thought most vegetable offerings from that past of Italy did have the agrodolce factor built in . . .

    Liked by 1 person

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