I like to make big batches of soups, stews, and pasta sauces when cooking. Sometimes making meals can be time and labour intensive. So, it’s better to make one big batch and freeze it ahead of time. Batch cooking will save you time and money in the long run because you won’t need takeout for a quick meal. This is especially true in the summer when local vegetables are readily available and at a much more economical price. Also, by buying fresh vegetables in season and cooking with them, you’re using them at peak freshness. And you have the added bonus of lowering your ecological footprint. Today’s Italian Vegetable Stew recipe is the perfect example of big batch summer cooking.
This is somewhat of a family recipe but everyone puts their own spin on it. A little of this and a dash of that can change the profile of the recipe. This is a vegetarian recipe but it can easily be made vegan if you omit the cheese or sub it for vegan cheese. You can also add roasted and sliced meat or vegan sausage or even beans if you want to add some protein. It’s endless. Let’s get cooking.
ITALIAN VEGETABLE STEW RECIPE
- 3 lbs zucchini chopped
- 2 lbs green beans
- 1 lbs onions
- 28 once tin of whole Tomatoes
- 1 lb Potatoes (optional)
- 24 once bottle of tomato passata
- 1 rind of Parmesan cheese
- Granulated onion
- Granulated garlic
- Fresh basil or basil paste
- Hot Chilli Peppers (optional)
- Wash and dry your zucchini. Then cut into quarters and slice into 1/4 inch pieces.
- Wash, dry green beans. Cut them into thirds.
- Roughly chop onions into 1/4 inch pieces.
- Wash and peel potatoes, cut into the same 1/4 inch chunks- optional.
- Open a can of whole tomatoes and crush the tomatoes by hand.
- In a large pot on medium heat pour in the crushed tomatoes.
- To the tomatoes add in the onions, beans, and potatoes (if you are using them). Allow this to simmer for 30 minutes stirring well every few minutes.
- Add in the zucchini and the cheese rind, stir well.
- Once the zucchini is in, add in enough passata that everything is covered well in the pot.
- Season with salt, pepper, onion, and garlic to taste. This is where you can add hot chilli peppers if you like.
- With the lid askew, let simmer on medium for 1 hr.
- Towards the end add in your fresh basil or basil paste. You can find out how to make basil paste by reading our blog post on it.
- The stew needs to cook a minimum of 2 hrs.
- If stew is too thick add in some water.
- If you have passata left and it doesn’t seem saucy enough add in the rest of the passata.
- If it appears too thin add in a few tablespoons of tomato paste.
- Add spinach, eggplant, or even peppers to this stew if you like.
- Add potatoes to make it a more hearty stew.
- You can serve this vegetable stew over pasta or rice or with crusty plain or garlic bread on the side.
- If you want to add meat to the stew use a good quality Italian pork sausage. You need to roast the sausage in the oven for an hour at 350°. I prefer a mild fennel sausage, but you can you that sausage of your choice. Take the sausage out of the oven and let cool. Then slice into 1/4 inch coins. Add in to the stew after the zucchini and allow it to cook for a minimum of 30-40 minutes. This allows the pork to absorb some of the tomato sauce and it makes the sausage, soft and delicious.
- This Italian vegetable stew freezes really well for up to four months in an airtight container.
This is a crowd pleasing dish that uses seasonal produce and can easily be adapted to your diet. Do you have any family recipes that you love ? If so share them with us in the comments.