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X Italian Vegetable and Side Dishes
Ciabbotele con Zucchini (Zucchini, onions and tomatoe stew)
Originated from: Casacalenda, Molise, Italy
Occasion: Any time
Contributed by: Mary Melfi (her mother's recipe)

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6 to 8 zucchini (about 2 pounds)
10 ripe tomatoes (about 2 pounds)
2 onions, chopped
3 garlic cloves, whole [traditional method] or chopped
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon oregano

Extras/ Optional

1 cup sliced fresh or dried Italian sausage
2 eggs (either beaten, or poached in the stew)

*Spellings vary


1. Wash, skin and dice fresh tomatoes.

2. Wash, then cut up zucchini into small chunks.

3. Chop onions.

4. Peel garlic. Keep whole [traditional method] or chop garlic (adds more flavor to the stew if one chops the garlic).

5. In a stewing pot, heat oil and fry garlic until golden.

6. Add chopped onions and fry till golden.

7a. Version I. If using "fresh" sausage, remove sausage meat from casing and stir fry [Traditional method] for a few minutes.

7b. Version II. If using "fresh" sausage, cut into slices and stir fry for a few minutes.

8. Add chopped zucchini.

9. Place lid on pan, and simmer for about 5 minutes.

10. Add diced tomatoes and cook for another 10 minutes on medium heat, without the lid on. Add salt and oregano.

11. If using "dry" Italian sausage, add sliced sausage into the stew and continue cooking for about another 6 minutes.

12a. Version I. Add beaten eggs (if using) and stir until the eggs are well mixed. Cook for another 4 minutes or so.

12b. Version II. Break eggs into the pan (if using) and poach them in the zucchini stew. Cook for another 4 minutes or so.

13. Serve warm with Italian country bread.


Personally I prefer this style of stew with sweet red peppers rather than with zucchini, but then red peppers are my favorite vegetables, so I certainly am prejudiced.... Photo: Mary Melfi.

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