God bless Big Nonno – He is the Patriarch of the famiglia.
Big Nonno in Chicago
He is the father, grandfather, and great-grandfather. He is now almost 84 years young – He has lived on his own since big Nanna passed almost 15 years ago. He still works part-time, tends a large vegetable garden, cooks, cleans, cans vegetables, makes sausage, sopressata, capicola, prosciutto, etc.
Big Nonno still prepares many of his meals by himself. He loves his vegetables. Many of the dishes we share on our Facebook page (nonnoknowsbest) and on our website (nonnolnowsbest.com) are inspired by him (and big Nanna’s cooking legacy).
I dropped in to visit big Nonno earlier today, he was singing in the kitchen while whipping up this tasty, healthy, and easy to make dish. It is one of his favorite vegetable dishes.
What you need to make Big Nonno’s Calabrese version of Sicilian Caponata (Vegetable Stir-fry):
- A large frying pan
- ¼ cup of virgin olive oil
- 1 small eggplant, quartered, then cut into 1/2-inch slices
- 2 small potatoes, cut into thin slices (slightly thicker than thick potato chips)
- 1 yellow pepper, cored/seeds removed and sliced into1/2” slices
- 2 ripe plum tomatoes (or you can use whole canned tomatoes)
- 1 cup of mushrooms
- 3 to 4 cloves of garlic chopped finely
- ¼ of an onion, sliced thin
- ½ Teaspoon of sugar
- 1 Tablespoon of dry oregano (or Italiano, Italian spice)
- 1 Dash of salt and pepper
- 1 Dash of crushed red pepper (or chili)
- Two tablespoons of capers
How to make Big Nonno’s Calabrese version of Sicilian Caponata (Calabrese Vegetable Stir fry):
- In a large frying pan, pour ¼ cup of virgin olive oil
- Toss in the chopped garlic and simmer on low/medium heat, then add the sliced onion and cook until lightly golden (about 4 to 5 minutes)
- Add the sliced potatoes and whole tomatoes (crush them in with a fork) and continue to simmer (stirring constantly) until the potatoes start to turn light brown
- Add the sliced yellow pepper, eggplant and ½ Teaspoon of sugar, continue to stirring (8 to 10 minutes), then bring to a boil for a couple of minutes
- Reduce heat to low and simmer, about 15 minutes.
- Season with salt, black pepper, oregano and crushed red pepper.
- Transfer to a serving bowl and top with fresh parsley
Serve and Enjoy!