When I lived in Spain in 2007, my typical meal was a baguette, Manchego cheese, and red wine eaten at Templo de Debod.
Those days, I wasn’t spending too much time cooking in my tiny apartment or going out to eat. My food budget was limited, to say it nicely. Early on in our stay in Madrid, we discovered El Tigre, a typical Spanish tapas bar where you got free plates of food when you ordered drinks. That became our after-school stomping grounds. It was unfair how full we could get on delicious, authentic Spanish tapas while spending a pitiful amount of money.
Seven years later, I’m standing in my kitchen and actually cooking Spanish food. This particular dish, called Pisto Manchego, is like a Spanish version of ratatouille. Like many staple recipes of a cuisine, there is no one way to make it, but the general idea is that you cook a little bacon with a slew of different vegetables (I used onion, garlic, red and green peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes).
I top mine with a healthy dose of Manchego cheese, although it’s quite common to leave out. Some people choose to make pisto as their entree, adding a poached egg on top, which I fully support.
The brightly colored and brightly flavored dish is a perfect accompaniment to pretty much any protein. And, because it reheats well, is ideal for those who want to make a big batch and eat it all week long.
Here’s to Spain and memories. Salud.
- 3 pieces thick cut bacon, cut into ½ inch pieces
- 2 yellow onions, chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped
- 2 red bell peppers, chopped
- 2 green bell peppers, chopped
- 2 small zucchinis, chopped
- 3 tomatoes, cored and seeded, then chopped
- salt to taste
- ⅓ cup manchego cheese, shredded or torn
- In a heavy skillet over high heat, cook bacon until slightly crispy. Turn down heat to medium and stir in onions and garlic. Cook until translucent.
- Add red and green peppers and cook until slightly soft, about 6 minutes. Stir in zucchini and cook an additional 4-5 minutes. Add tomatoes, mix well, and cook for an additional 5-10 minutes, until all flavors are nicely blended. Add salt to taste.
- Remove from heat and top with manchego cheese. Let cheese melt slightly before serving.
Recipe adapted from The Book of Spanish Cooking.