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Giambotta: Italian Stewed Vegetables

Giambotta! Great hot or cold.

Giambotta! Great hot or cold. Pictured with Merquez Meatballs.

When I was growing up, summer meant vegetable hell. I mean I really hated my mother’s mushy squash. But my mother wasn’t the best cook, a rarity in Italians. So, it was my aunts and uncles who taught me to cook. One summer Aunty, my mom’s sister, taught me how to make the real giambotta, Italian stewed vegetables when I was visiting her in Virginia Beach. This was not the thing my mother would make and stew vegetables to mush but the REAL giambotta that my grandmother made and my great-grandmother, and her mother, and so on all the way down the line. Little women from Avelina, that I am proudly descendant from, made this for their families. It is sooo good. We learned to say it as ‘jam-bok” from my grandmother’s dialect. Even my first husband used to request the jam-bok and he was not Italian. As a paleo eater who eats nightshades, this is a good way to add my 2/3 veg on the plate. It’s great with any meat or fish. I picked some fresh carrots, pattypan squash and zucchini for this one and added some Merquez meatballs to the stewing process. OMG! One Pot of YUM!

The sweetness of the carrots are the secret to  a good giambotta. So here’s the recipe. Enjoy it this summer.

Giambotta
serves 2-4

  • Squash, Zucchini, 1-3 cups 1/2″ cubed
  • 1-2 carrots – cubed (1 cup)
  • 1 -2 cups diced onions (not sweet)
  • 1-3 finely diced cloves of garlic
  • Handful of basil
  • Handful of Parsley
  • 1 cup diced tomato (canned or fresh) or a cup of tomato puree
  • Your fat of choice – enough to coat the pan by 1/8 inch when melted
  • Salt and Pepper
  1. Heat pan on med-high to make fat shimmer
  2. Add onions, salt and pepper. Cook until the membranes get slightly soft. Lower the heat to medium.
  3. Add in garlic and carrots, stir and let sauté until the carrots just begin to soften. Do not let them burn or get overly brown.
  4. Add squash and mix in.
  5. Add basil, parsley and tomato. Turn heat up and bring to a bubbling simmer. Then lower the heat and allow to simmer slowly over 15 -3o minutes. Cook until the vegetables stew together and become a melange. You should be able to pick out the carrots or squash but the onion should be melted by now.
IMG_1849

Fresh Carrots from the Garden.

As to Salt and Pepper. I recommend at least a teaspoon to a half tablespoon, depending upon how much veg you’re cooking. For tomato puree I love Mutti Passata in the glass jars. I get it at the local World Market and always have it on hand.   If you want to add small meatballs as I did with merquez meatballs, add before the tomatoes and get them slightly brown. Then add the tomatoes and let them cook in the stewed goodness of the giambotta! Try it, it’s good!

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