Friday, September 5, 2008

Pisto Manchego with Eggs

So, this week's dinners have gotten all switched around. I'm no longer even paying attention to what day I had planned on making something. I'm still on track for cooking them all, though! Last night I took a deep breath and decided to give this recipe a whirl. My vegetarian friend, Lisa (how do you like that title, Lisa? ;) ), linked to this recipe in a comment on my last menu when I asked for vegetarian suggestions. It's a recipe from the NY Times, and it can be found here.

I'm going to post it here as well with my own words tossed in for clarification and insights into my experience last night.

Pisto Manchego with Eggs
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 pounds zucchini, or a combination of green and yellow summer squash, diced
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped, or 1 (28-ounce) can, drained and chopped (see note below)
1/4 teaspoon sugar
Salt to taste (a generous amount, at least 1 teaspoon)
Lots of freshly ground black pepper
6 eggs

Note: When you seed the tomatoes, set a strainer over a bowl. Squeeze the seeds into the strainer, then press the pulp and juice through the strainer into the bowl. Discard the seeds and use the juice as described below.

Jennie's additional Note: This whole tomato process seemed too complicated for me, so I just bought a 28 oz. can of diced tomatoes and drained the juice. ;)

Heat the oil in a large, heavy, nonstick skillet over medium heat, then add the onion. Stir often, until just about tender — about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, for another minute or two until fragrant. Stir in the squash and 1/2 teaspoon salt, and toss together for five minutes, until the squash is coated with oil and beginning to soften.

Add the tomatoes and sugar, then salt to taste (3/4 to 1 teaspoon) and turn the heat to medium-high. Stir often for five to 10 minutes, until the tomatoes have slightly cooked down.

Add the juice from the tomatoes plus 1/4 cup water, stir together, and turn the heat back down to medium-low. Cook uncovered for 30 to 35 minutes, until the vegetables are soft and easy to mash. Stir often, and add water as necessary, every 10 minutes or so, until the mixture cooks down and begins to stick to the pan. (Note from Jennie: I didn't add water the entire time other than the first 1/4 cup. I think canned tomatoes have plenty of liquid. It probably would have even been fine without that first 1/4 cup as mine ended up a tad runny.) From time to time, press on the squash with the back of your spoon so that it breaks down. (My squash did break down a bit, but I think it would have been better if I had been patient and chopped my squash into smaller pieces.) Taste, adjust the salt, and add lots of pepper.

Using the back of your spoon, make six wells in the vegetable mixture and break an egg into each well. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the pan, and cook until the eggs have set, about six to eight minutes (the whites should be set, but the yolks should still be runny). Serve, using a spatula to dish out portions of pisto topped with an egg (we ate ours in bowls).

Ok, my experience with the eggs was a little different. My vegetable mixture wasn't thick enough to form wells and have them stay that way. Instead, I made a well with my spoon and had Paul crack an egg into it, one at a time. Also, I was paranoid about the eggs being cooked all the way, so my yolks ended up being cooked through. I let it cook for the whole eight minutes and I had the heat between medium and medium-low. I think they would have been perfect after six minutes.

Despite not being much to look at, this dinner was very flavorful and delicious! I enjoyed it a lot. I must admit that I didn't expect to like it as much as I did (I usually don't like squash that much). I highly recommend it, and it's not as hard as it looks.

*I'm giving this one a medium difficulty level. However, if you ask me, it would move into the hard category if you seeded and juiced your own tomatoes. But maybe that's just me. ;)

**Also, the website says you can use this recipe as a side dish without the eggs. I don't know if I'd want to put that much effort into a side dish, but if I got it to the simmering point and then cooked a main dish, it might work out just fine.


Paula said...

This recipe fascinates me. I'll have to try it on a night that I have a little more time! I liked all the pictures!

Paula said...

So, how did you know what 2 pounds of squash was? I have no idea how much would make 2 pounds. I need to get a kitchen scale one day.

Jennie said...

I just weighed it at the grocery store. It ended up being two average sized zucchinis and two small-medium size yellow summer squash. It makes A LOT. It says it's six servings.