Gugurglione, with its unusual name, is thought to have been adopted from Spanish pirates. It is a versatile, easy summer dish, similar to a rustic, French ratatouille. It can be eaten hot or cold, as a side dish, a main course (just add paper thin prosciutto and a ball of buffalo mozzarella), or even, when used as a topping for garlic-rubbed crostini, as an antipasto. The amounts given here aren't strict: Use what you have on hand (the only rule is to use a more or less equal amount of all the vegetables to keep it balanced). After all, that is the point of this delicious stew that makes the most of summer produce. —Emiko
very ripe tomatoes
extra-virgin olive oil
medium-large potatoes, peeled
small red onion, diced
medium eggplants, stem removed
red or green bell peppers, seeds and stems removed
With a sharp knife, score a cross into the bottoms of the tomatoes and blanch them by placing them in a pot of simmering water for about 30 seconds. Remove and place immediately in a bowl of cold water. When tomatoes are cool enough to handle, their skins should peel off easily. Quarter the tomatoes, remove their seeds, then dice the rest of the flesh and set aside.
Dice the rest of the cleaned vegetables except for the zucchini into cubes about 1/2-inch (1 to 1 1/2 centimeters) wide and set aside. Slice the zucchini into thin circles. In a deep skillet (non-stick or enamel work well here) large enough to hold all the vegetables, heat some olive oil over low-medium heat in a deep skillet and begin cooking the diced potatoes. Cover and cook for about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking to make sure they are not browning or getting stuck—they should remain relatively pale.
Add the onion along with a good pinch of salt, stir, and then let cook, covered, a minute or two more before adding the eggplant. Stir, and cover again, cooking an additional 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then add the peppers and the zucchini, cover and let cook 5 more minutes, stirring occasionally.
Finally, add the tomatoes. Continue cooking over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes have broken down and the vegetables are cooked evenly. If you need to at any point (if you notice the vegetables sticking, for example), you can add a splash of water, but in general you should not need to do this. Before serving, add torn basil and season with salt and pepper.
The Australian-Japanese cookbook author has lived in Florence (where a visit to a cheese farm once inspired her to start a food blog) for over 10 years with her Tuscan sommelier husband and two kids. Her third cookbook, Tortellini at Midnight, is out now.