Caponata: Sicilian pasta sauce with aubergines, olives and capers

Well, well, well exams are finally out the way for another semester and I can get back to cooking properly again! For the past few weeks my kitchen activity has mainly consisted of making a big pot of something at the start of the week (usually bolognese) and the freezing it in batches to be reheated throughout the week with some pasta or toast. Safe to say bolognese got pretty boring.

Come the end of my last exam I was itching to get back in the kitchen and try a new recipe.
One thing I’ve been wanting to try for a while now is a take on the Caponata with Butternut Squash ravioli that I’d had at the Edinburgh Foodie Festival last summer.

My wonderful mum came up last weekend and brought along some Pumpkin Ravioli. What a great opportunity to try out  Caponata!
It’s a rather odd recipe for me because it contains so many things that I actually don’t think I like such as aubergine, capers and butternut squash.

However, the combination is just fantastic!
It’s got the salty taste from the olives and capers, the sharp sour taste from the red wine vinegar, the sweet taste from the sugar and peppers. Finally the aubergine and tomato provides an excellent base for these flavours to come together. The sweet filling of the butternut squash contrasts brilliantly with this savoury, tangy sauce. It’s actually very similar to ratatouille and can be enjoyed warm or cold; as a sauce or with cold meats and cheese as antipasto.

We improvised this recipe from a number of online sources as well as what we could remember from the festival.

Caponata
The recipe given is to serve 2 people but can be doubled up to serve 4 etc or make more to save for later.

  • 1/2 an Aubergine, diced
  • 1/2 an Onion, diced
  • 1 clove of Garlic, finely chopped
  • Half a Red Pepper, diced
  • Handful of pitted Green Olives, halved
  • 1/2 a can (400g) of chopped Tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp of Capers
  • 2 tbsp of Red Wine Vinegar
  • 3 tsp of Sugar or to your taste
  • 2 tsp or dried Parsley or a small handful if you have fresh

Fry the aubergine in olive oil until it begins to brown, about 5-8 minutes, then transfer to kitchen towel to drain.

Fry the onions for 3-4 minutes until they are beginning to golden then add the peppers and cook for a further 5 minutes. Then add the garlic and aubergine and cook for 2 minutes.

Next, add the tomatoes and capers to the pan and cook with the lid on for 5 minutes.

After 10 minutes stir in the parsley, red wine vinegar and sugar until dissolved, allow this to be absorbed, usually 5 minutes and then taste to decide if you need more sugar or vinegar.

Allow the mixture to cool slightly before serving as it should be served warm rather than hot.

Serve with butternut squash or pumpkin ravioli and garnish with rocket.

Have you tried any new recipes lately? Drop me a line and let me know how they went!

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About tasha in the kitchen

I'm a 20 year old Psychology student, in Scotland. I love food. In fact I'd go as far to say that I'm obsessed with it. Making food is incredibly therapeutic and satisfying. I can often be caught reading cookbooks before bed, or spending hours trawling food blogs. I want to share this passion and so here is my blog. Enjoy.
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7 Responses to Caponata: Sicilian pasta sauce with aubergines, olives and capers

  1. mzakrzew says:

    Wow the caponata is a combo of all my favorite things! Eggplant, red wine vinegar, garlic, olives, pepper…plus I always buy eggplant then don’t know what to do with it…will definitely try this!

  2. CorkAndSpoon says:

    That looks fantastic, Tasha! I so hear you on itchin’ to get back in the kitchen after a hectic day (week, semester, etc. lol).
    ~Ruth

  3. heatherinsf says:

    I love pumpkin ravioli too, thanks for sharing your recipe. I have just been using browned butter and sage leaves but I like this idea much better. My former MIL who is Sicilian would make caponata and we would eat it cold on sourdough bread. I think she added an anchovy filet which you couldn’t really taste but it added a nice umph to the flavor.

    • Cold on bread is a great idea! Think I might do that with some ciabatta next time I make this. The anchovy could be interesting I’m not a fan of anything fishy but I may brave this as an experiment :)

  4. This sounds like a simple but delicious sauce, especially with the ravioli! I recently tried to make homemade conversation hearts for the first time (and I did it on camera to make a video for my site nonetheless). It was…interesting lol. But I made it work!

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