I usually have always loved vegetables and before moving to Spain my diet was in fact primarily vegetables, fruits, nuts and seeds, and fish so the vegetable dish called pisto manchego has always looked scrumptious to me. This dish stems from the region of La Mancha but it is found all over Spain. It is very similar to the French dish ratatouille so even outside of Spain you could easily find this or even make it yourself at home!
If you ever find yourself in Castilla La Mancha during the first weekend of September head over to the city of Villanueva de los Infantes (Ciudad Real) for a festival celebrating the pepper harvest. There pisto manchego is made for a crowd of about 8,000 people! It’s not well known for tourists unless you’re in that particular city so it’s a great way to meet some locals!
The original version of pisto only consisted of green and red peppers and zucchini but after time tomatoes, onions, and garlic were added. This dish is so widely available here in Spain that you can even find it at supermarkets but honestly it is so easy to make you could do it at home. First add a little olive oil to the pan until hot and add the onions and garlic until soft. Then add the peppers and zucchini until almost tender before finally adding some chopped tomatoes. You can also substitute eggplant for the zucchini which sounds amazing to me since I love eggplant.
This dish is usually (more often than not) served with some bread and it’s really good with some vino. Other preparations or toppings can include Spanish ham, fried egg, or jerky made from deer. This dish is truly mouthwatering and with some crusty Spanish bread it makes for the perfect primer plato. Hope you enjoy it!