The Ultimate Italian Side Dish

Chow Ciao
Shine from Yahoo! Canada

Has your garden left you with more veggies than you can possibly eat? Fabio comes to the rescue with this flavourful cooked vegetable caponata, the ultimate Italian side dish, and shares some easy ways to imbue any veggies with even more flavour.


  • Caponata originated out of an abundance of veggies and a desire not to waste them.
  • Make veggies taste better by simply cutting them smaller: more surface area is meets the heat, sauces, and/or spices, resulting in more delicious caramelization and exposure to flavours.
  • Use vinegar and brown sugar to heighten flavours.
  • Dish comes together in less than 20 minutes.

Recipe by Fabio Viviani

Yield: 4-6 servings


¼ c light olive oil

2 cups carrots, large diced

2 cups onions, large diced

2 cups celery, large diced

3 sprigs thyme

1 whole eggplant, cut into ½ - 1 inch squares

salt and pepper to taste

1 cup green olives, sliced

1 cup pine nuts

2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil

½ cup brown sugar

1 cup red wine vinegar

10 mint leaves, chopped

10 basil leaves, chopped

½ cup red wine vinegar

3 tbsp. tomato paste


Heat light olive oil in a sauté pan, over medium heat.

Add carrots, onion, celery and thyme and cook until caramelized.

Turn heat to high, and add eggplant, salt and pepper, and let it wilt.

Turn the heat back to medium, and add olives, pine nuts and extra virgin olive oil.

Let everything caramelize, stirring occasionally.

Add brown sugar and one cup of vinegar.

Add mint and basil to the pan, and let the vinegar reduce.

Mix the half-cup of vinegar with tomato paste.

Add the tomato paste and vinegar mixture, and let cook an additional 3-5 minutes.