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    Sicilian vegetable stew

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    Sicilian vegetable stew

    Versatile, delicious and easy to make, caponata is probably Sicily’s best-known dish. Throughout the centuries, Sicily has been invaded and colonised by many different nations and these influences are plain to see in Sicilian cuisine. Here you will see hints of the French ratatouille, while the inclusion of raisins and pine nuts suggests some Arabic influences, too. Serve either cold or warm as a side dish or as a main course with bread.

    • Preparation time: 30 minutes
    • Cooking time: 45 minutes
    • Total time: 1 hour 15 minutes 60 minutes 15 minutes

    Serves: Serves 6, as a starter

    Ingredients

    • 4 Aubergines (about 800g)
    • 1 Large onion
    • 2 tbsp Olive oil
    • 3 Ripe tomatoes, cut into chunky cubes
    • 1 tbsp Tomato purée, diluted with a little water
    • 1 tbsp Caster sugar
    • 1 tbsp Salted capers, soaked to remove some of the salt
    • 1 Celery head, leaves and stalks chopped
    • 1 tbsp Raisins
    • 1 tbsp Pine nuts
    • 20 Green pitted olives
    • 1 tbsp White wine vinegar

    Method

    1. Cut the aubergine into 3cm cubes, soak in cold water for 5 minutes, then drain. This will stop it from absorbing too much oil.
    2. Fry the onion in the olive oil in a large pan for a few minutes, to soften. Add the aubergine chunks to the pan and fry until soft and tender – about 10 minutes. Add the tomatoes, tomato purée, sugar, capers, olives, vinegar, celery leaves and stalks, raisins and some salt and pepper, and stew slowly until everything is soft – about 30 minutes.
    3. Stir in the pine nuts and serve.

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    Drinks recommendation

    This requires a well-balanced wine - one that won’t overpower the flavour combinations, but has plenty of guts. Try this powerful yet pure red, which is also suitable for vegetarians. Via Collina 2007 Dolcetto di Diano d’Alba, Piedmont. Bin 390208; £7.49.

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