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Author Notes: Pisto manchego is a mouthwatering Spanish mixture of tomatoes and Italian peppers (cubanelle peppers) fried, poached or sauteed in olive oil. It may also include zucchini, onion, red bell pepper and garlic or even, less frequently, eggplant or potato. An unquestionable classic fare from La Mancha —a historical and natural region in the center of Spain— which is eaten throughout the country. —School of Tapas
For the tomato sauce:
- 1 ½ teaspoons garlic, finely chopped
- 3 ½ cups plum tomatoes, peeled and seeded
- 2 tablespoons virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon sugar
For the vegetables:
- 2 cups onions, diced
- 2 cups green italian peppers, diced
- 1 cup red bell peppers, diced
- 2 cups zucchini, diced
- ¼ cups virgin olive oil, divided
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Heat the virgin olive oil to medium-low temperature in a clay cooking pot (or a heavy-bottomed saucepan) and stir-fry the garlic. Add the tomatoes, crushed by hand as shown in the step-by-step photos, to the pot.
- Lower the heat to the minimum setting and cook about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon.
- Heat 2 teaspoons of the olive oil in another clay cooking pot to medium-low and stir in the onion. Turn the heat to low and poach until the onion becomes golden and translucent.
- Transfer the poached onion to a plate using a slotted spoon.
- Add another 2 teaspoons of olive oil to the pot and stir in the Italian peppers along with the red bell pepper, if using. Lower the heat and cook, stirring from time to time.
- Remove the peppers with a slotted spoon and set aside along with the onion.
- Cook the zucchini in the same way as the peppers. Transfer to the cooked vegetable's platter when it is golden and shiny.
- Rub off any oil from the clay frying pot with kitchen paper, return all the vegetables to the pot along with the tomato sauce and turn the heat to very low. Cook for 45 minutes.
- Season with salt, black ground pepper and sugar to taste.
- Turn off the heat and let it settle one day long before serving for the flavors to develop.