Spanish Pisto Manchego is often considered a Spanish Ratatouille recipe, made with fresh ingredients from the garden. It’s true comfort food!
Pisto Manchego used to be a modest Spanish recipe that country workers cooked using seasonal vegetables they could find after working in the fields. There are many versions of this Spanish vegetable stew using a variety of vegetables but they always include tomatoes and bell peppers as the main ingredients.
It’s originally from the regions of Murcia, Castilla La Mancha, and Extremadura but nowadays it’s eaten all throughout Spain. Especially during the summer months when tomatoes and bell peppers are widely available.
How to Make Pisto Manchego: 5 Tips
- When making this Spanish Pisto Manchego recipe patience will be your best friend. You want to cook it low and slow to achieve that amazing earthy and soft flavor that characterizes this dish.
- Control your heat at all times. While the recipe calls for low-medium heat, your stove or pit may need to be on the lower end of the spectrum. Perhaps, it may need to stay at a solid medium heat. Also keep in mind that heat changes throughout the cooking process, so you may need to adjust in between.
- The tomatoes in this recipe can either be fresh or store-bought. We do recommend using fresh tomatoes of course since a good Pisto Manchego recipe always consists of farm-fresh vegetables.
- The tomatoes need to be extra ripe so the inside is nice and soft and the flesh comes off easily. To peel, the tomatoes just immerse them in boiling water until the split starts opening up. Have a bowl of ice water close by and transfer them once they’re done. You can then start peeling them and then set them aside.
- The extra-virgin olive oil (EVOO) is also a flavor maker in the recipe. Use an organic EVOO, if possible. You can also use olive oil, but if you do then it has to be one with the least chemical in it.
How to Serve Spanish Ratatouille
Pisto Manchego is traditionally served as an appetizer with toasted bread and fried eggs. It’s best when the eggs are cooked sunny side up so the egg yolks can mix with the Pisto.
Another option is serving the Pisto with Serrano ham. It creates a delicious sweet and salty combination.
Another way to serve Pisto is with chicken, rice, or mixed with pasta. Since this dish can be stored well, double the recipe so you have some leftovers to use in a different dish.
Pisto Manchego Recipe (Spanish Ratatouille)
- 900 grams ripe tomatoes ((see note 1))
- 3 medium zucchini
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 big red bell pepper
- 2 medium green bell peppers
- 1 medium red onion
- 120 milliliters extra virgin olive oil ((see note 2))
- Salt & pepper
- 1 tbsp paprika powder (optional)
- 4 Eggs
- 8 Sliced bread
- Peel your tomatoes by slicing a shallow X at the bottom of the tomatoes and immersing them in boiling water (see note 1). Once the split starts to open up transfer them to a bowl of ice water and start peeling and set aside.
- In the meantime, dice the peppers, zucchini, onion, and garlic.
- In a large pan on low-medium, heat 4 tablespoons of oil and cook the tomatoes for two minutes. Set aside. Add 4 more tablespoons of oil, add the zucchini, and cook until tender. Then add the garlic, bell peppers, and onion, and let them cook together until tender and soft. Once the vegetables are soft, add the tomatoes, season with salt, pepper, and paprika powder (optional) and let them slowly cook together for a few more minutes.
- In a pan, fry the eggs sunny side up and set aside. Toast your bread and set aside.
- Serve the Pisto Manchego with a fried egg and bread.
- Instead of fresh tomatoes, you can also opt for storebought peeled tomatoes. Just make sure they have no added flavors.
- In Spain, extra-virgin olive oil is often used when cooking vegetables as its unprocessed and the purest form of olive oil. Feel free to use regular or organic olive oil instead.