Simmer

Pisto Manchego With Eggs

August 14, 2020
6 Ratings
Photo by Julia Gartland. Food Stylist: Anna Billingskog. Prop stylist: Amanda Widis
Author Notes

I first came across this dish at the elementary school in Madrid, where I taught English, and where they served it for lunch. Filing into the cafeteria, some of the students would complain, “Que no me gusta el pisto!” (I don’t like pisto!), but I always looked forward to pisto day. Eventually, I learned to make the dish myself.

Ubiquitous throughout Spain, “pisto” is a stewy dish similar to French ratatouille or Israeli shakshuka. The essential ingredients are tomatoes, onions, and peppers. While the Manchego (Manchego = from La Mancha) version, with zucchini and a pièce-de-résistance poached or fried egg, is arguably the most popular, each region has a distinct take on pisto. In the sunny southwest, Andalusians throw in eggplant, as do their neighbors to the east, in Murcia. In Rioja, a cook might finish her pisto by beating a few eggs directly into the mixture at the end. The Bilbaínos up north double the eggs, and it skews more toward a veggie-heavy scramble.

I have my own version that I like to describe as a summer garden in a bowl—even better when it's topped with an egg.

Caitlin Raux Gunther

Test Kitchen Notes

Featured in: Summer Calls for Pisto Manchego—With a Fried Egg on Top. —The Editors

  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 20 minutes
  • Serves 4
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more as needed
  • 2 white onions, sliced thin
  • sea salt (to taste)
  • 2 zucchini or yellow squash (or one of each), peeled and chopped
  • 3 Italian peppers (or 2 bell peppers), cored and chopped
  • 4 cloves of garlic, diced
  • 6 medium tomatoes, cored and chopped
  • Splash sherry vinegar (optional)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 4 eggs
In This Recipe
Directions
  1. In a large saucepan over high-medium heat, add a generous coating of olive oil. Once oil is hot, add onions, salt and continually stir.
  2. When onions are golden and some are a little singed, add squash and a splash more olive oil. Throw in a few more pinches of salt.
  3. Once the squash cooks down, add peppers and another splash of olive oil. Cook for a few minutes then add the garlic. If the mixture is getting dry, add another touch of olive oil. Keep stirring continually. Salt to taste—it should be a little extra salty at this point because the tomatoes (coming next) will absorb a good deal of it.
  4. By now, your vegetables should be soft and coming together. Add the chopped tomatoes, which will contribute some much-needed moisture.
  5. Cook tomatoes down until they seem to have released all of their water. Stir in a splash of sherry vinegar. After a couple of minutes, pour in a half cup of water, stir and lower heat, letting the ingredients simmer together for at least 10 minutes (feel free to go lower and slower). Salt (again! I know!) to taste.
  6. In a medium saucepan, add a healthy glug of olive oil. Once oil is hot, crack four eggs into the pan and fry to preferred doneness.
  7. Serve pisto with a fried egg for each person and a baguette (or any such delicious bread on hand).

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    Caitlin Raux Gunther
Caitlin is a Paris-based writer and editor. She wrote about food and wine while living in Madrid after college, and had a brief career as a lawyer before moving back to Spain to work in restaurants and attend culinary courses at the Basque Culinary Center in San Sebastian. She has worked or staged at Septime in Paris, Mina and Nerua in Bilbao, and Bien Cuit in Brooklyn. In 2018, she and her husband launched a pop-up sandwich shop in Mallorca, Spain. Caitlin now lives in an ovenless apartment in the 9th arrondissement with her husband, Guillaume, and daughter, Mimi. Update: we have an oven now.