food,  recipes

La Furia Roja:
on the Plate & on the Field

In honor of Spain’s world cup win, I’m posting a Spanish recipe today that uses fresh ingredients in season right now (or just around the corner). And, like La Furia Roja (the “red fury”), as the Spanish national soccer team is nicknamed, the dish also happens to be red. I varied the recipe a little bit from the traditional version, based on trial and error. And I added vodka.

Spanish Pisto

Lots and lots of olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 cup chopped, seeded tomatoes (or 1 can diced tomatoes if you don’t have fresh)
3 cloves garlic, diced (you can toss in some garlic scapes, too, if you have them)
1 medium-sized zucchini, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 oz vodka
1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
approx. 2 c. chicken broth
1 TB each of fresh basil & oregano, chopped. If you don’t have fresh, dried will do.
Sea salt & pepper
Flat-leaf parsley (optional) to garnish

Heat 1/4 c. of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and onions until fragrant. Do not allow to brown–turn down heat if needed. Add tomatoes, zucchini and saute 5 minutes. Add red bell pepper. Add more olive oil as needed if vegetables start to stick. Saute until the mixture starts to get watery & break down. Add 1/2 c. chicken broth and another TB or so of olive oil. Turn heat to low and let simmer 15-20 minutes, checking from time to time to make sure it is not burning or drying up and sticking to the pan. Stir in the vodka to deglaze the pan. Add red pepper flakes and herbs. Add a few more TB chicken broth and allow the mixture to simmer again, 10 minutes. Continue to allow the mixture to cook down, adding small amounts of olive oil or chicken broth if needed to achieve a stew-like consistency. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve over rice or pasta, or on top of fresh bread. Garnish with chopped parsley. Serves 4.

This recipe is very easy, but takes a lot of time to cook down at a low temperature (usually about an hour). So I recommend cracking open a bottle of dry chardonnay, preferably French. My girlfriends ate this last Thursday it with a Verget white burgundy that tasted much more expensive than its $13 price tag (thanks to my friend, Amy, and Star Liquor for a great pairing). And anyway, I have a theory that drinking French wine makes you look like you know a lot about wine, even if you don’t. Don’t drink all of the wine before the pisto is ready, though, because the two taste great together.

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