Pisto is basically the Spanish version of ratatouille (stewed vegetables), and it's one of my husband's favorite dishes. It sounds remarkably simple, but like most simple dishes in Spain there are excellent versions and terrible ones. The trick, as usual, is the quality of your produce and of your extra virgen olive oil, as well as the care you take while slowly stewing the vegetables.
This pisto recipe cooks each vegetable separately, which is more work, but ultimately worth it. You can experiment with it as a one pan meal, but doing it this way guarantees that each vegetable with be perfectly cooked.
Traditional Spanish Pisto Recipe
- 3 small zucchini diced
- 2 medium red bell peppers diced
- 2 medium green bell peppers diced
- 4 medium onions diced
- 3 small purple eggplants peeled and diced
- 2 pounds of ripe tomatoes the better your tomatoes, the better your pisto!, peeled and diced
- 5 cloves of garlic diced
- A pinch of thyme rosemary and (optionally) fresh oregano
- 1 teaspoon of cumin
- 1 teaspoon of refined sugar substitute honey or brown sugar for a more natural take
- Salt and pepper to taste
- A couple of dried cayenne peppers-- optional and not traditional!
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Optional: Fried eggs
- Optional: Manchego cheese or any cured raw sheep's milk cheese
- Peels and dice the vegetables as indicated, and layer the eggplant on paper towels then sprinkle with kosher salt. Let them sit at least 10 minutes.
- Put two different frying pans on a medium heat and add a splash of olive oil to each.
- Add the diced onions to one of the pans, with a pinch of salt. Sauté over a medium-low heat until they start to turn transparent, then cover the pan and allow them to poach (you don't want them to brown). Once fully cooked, reserve in a large bowl.
- In the meantime, add the peppers to the other pan and sauté over a medium high heat until starting to brown. Lower to medium and cover for about 10 minutes. Once cooked through reserve along with the onions.
- Rinse the salt off of the eggplant in a mesh strainer.
- Follow the same steps as the peppers to cook the zucchini and eggplant (in separate pans). You want to start cooking them on medium high, and once starting to brown lower the heat and cover until tender (stirring a few times so they don't stick). Then reserve along with the other vegetables, mixing to make all the flavors combine.
- Add all of the spices to the bowl of vegetables and mix well.
- Next, add a bit more oil to one of the pans if necessary, and add the diced garlic (and the dried cayenne peppers if using). Sauté over medium heat until starting to fry. Then add the peeled and diced tomato to the pan. Cook over a medium low heat for about 20 minutes, stirring frequently, until you have tomato sauce. Add the sugar, and adjust for salt.
- Now, in a large frying pan, mix the previously cooked veggies with the tomato sauce.
- Mix everything well, and cook for 10 minutes over a medium heat. Adjust for salt and spices, and enjoy!
Optional Additions: The most famous pisto dishes in Spain are pisto con huevo (pisto with a fried egg on top) or pisto Manchego (pisto with sliced Manchego cheese on top). Both are great ways to enjoy your pisto as a meal, or you can serve as is as a side dish for fish or meat.
What do you think? Will you be trying my Spanish pisto recipe soon?
Fudged around the ingredient quantities but still came out good! The trick is to be sure the veggies are all soft and fully cooked before removing and transferring to the separate bowl.
We ate this when we were kids, but called it splodge until I started taking French and learnt that it was actually called ratatouille. My mum served it with pork chops.
I still make it today, only now living in Spain I add the aubergine, I always make a big batch, freeze it and we have it for supper put under the grill with grated cheese.
Hi! My son-in-law introduced me to your website when we spent a month in Andalusia over the holidays. I’m cooking this Pisto recipe for the third time because I can’t get enough of it! The only change I made the last time I made it was do add a teeny bit of sherry. The recipe is perfect the way that it is nonetheless. Thank you!
I have made this recipe so many times I have it memorized. Even my Spanish friends say it is the best Pisto they have ever had.
Hi Lauren! Big fan! This dish is amazing me and the wife made it for our 3 kids, they loved it!
I grew up with something similar to this: pepper, onion , tomato and (variables) chicken, potato. We called it “free-tah”. It was years before i snapped to the similarity to ratatouille. Could never find recipes by the name i know it as. Thank you. Just had my egg version with an egg on top.
My husband is from Spain, and I have used this recipe to guide me in making pisto. The main thing I change is that I do not cook the ingredients separately. I do it the traditional Spanish way and cook them in one large deep sauté pan. I add the ingredients that take the longest time to cook first, and add the remaining ingredients a few at a time that need less time. The flavors really blend together well this way. I start with the peppers and onions, a little later add the zucchini and summer squash, later, the eggplant and tomatoes. After it’s almost finished cooking, I also add two envelopes of Goya Sazon with Azafran along with the other seasonings. I purchased it at my local supermarket. I then usually serve the pisto over a bed of seasoned rice (yellow rice or white rice also seasoned with the Sazon)
Mmm that sounds great!
Hi, do you know if this is really a 4 serving size dish if used as a side?
I became interested in Spanish cuisine since my daughter is doing a semester abroad and raves about the food. Pisto is a particular favorite of hers, so I searched and found this rendition. This is absolutely delicious and now something we make at least once a week. Healthy, delicious, and a wonderful main or side dish. I love it with a poached egg on top; my husband smothers grilled chicken with it. Great recipe and look forward to trying more from your website!
Esta receta fue genio. El huevo era una gran adición a esta comida . A pesar de que soy un gran fan de la carne , los calabacines, pimientos , berenjenas y tomates , fue muy satisfactorio . Gracias de nuevo por este plato saludable.
We recently made this and what can i tell you, we loved it. great recipe, we will be back to try some more.
Nice recipe! In Spanish Products we love Pisto !!
I recently made this, and it turned out really well. The ingredients were easy to find in my local grocery store which was a huge plus. I really enjoyed this website.
Thanks so much Hannah!
I live in asturias do, you have recipes for this area?
kind regards C C Ascott
Slowly adding them in Christopher! I love Asturian food 🙂
I am definitely going to try this recipe. Sounds wonderful. Could I serve this with lobster?
I don't see why not! Enjoy 🙂