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Ciabotta – Easy Summer Vegetable Stew from Abruzzo

CiabottaStew Ciabotta – Easy Summer Vegetable Stew from Abruzzo
Today we are continuing with our Abruzzo recipe series, in which we share traditionally plant-based dishes from Abruzzo, Italy. We are hosting a vegan/vegetarian retreat there this October (there are still a few spots left!), and our research of local ingredients and eating traditions has led us to cooking and trying some amazing plant-based meals from the region.

This simple summer vegetable stew is the perfect example of the genius simplicity and quiet elegance of Italian peasant food, which mostly depends on the freshness and quality of the ingredients. Ciabotta (also known as ciambotta) is a common summer dish in Abruzzo, as well as all throughout southern Italy, and it’s everything we want to be eating this summer.

My aunt back in Russia makes something similar to ciabotta, a dish that she invented herself, and I’ve been craving it so much this summer. I was super excited when Anna, our retreat partner and Abruzzo local, told me that southern Italy has a similar dish that I should try making.

The preparation couldn’t be simpler here. You basically stew a bunch of summer produce: eggplant, zucchini/summer squash, onion, garlic, tomatoes, potatoes, all together in a pot, until the vegetables release their juices and get tender and sweet. The mingling of flavors is amazing, and the stew can be enjoyed hot or cold, on its own or with/on top of good bread, polenta, rice, or even pasta, with a generous drizzle of olive oil. The flavors, which are both comforting andlight, develop even further after the stew sits in the fridge, and the leftovers are out of this world delicious. Zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes are exploding at the markets and stores during this time of year in (most of) the Northern hemisphere, and whipping up some ciabotta is the perfect way to enjoy all of that bounty.

Our Abruzzo retreat will be all about eating and cooking traditionally plant-based Italian dishes like this one, with a strong focus on fresh, local ingredients, some of which we’ll forage ourselves. Abruzzo is famous for its truffles, lentils, ancient grains, wild herbs and greens, and the best organic produce that I’ve ever tasted. We will be shown around by a local and will get to stay in mountain villages off the beaten path. To learn more and sign up for our retreat this October, click here. We would love to see you there!

P.S. Check out more Abruzzo recipes that we’ve shared: The Simplest Lentil SoupRhubarb Celli Ripieni – Old School Jam Cookies.

Fresh eating in the summertime: very superior sala...
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