Ciambotta, also known as giambotta or cianfotta, is a hearty stew made from fresh summer vegetables.  Zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, carrots, potatoes, are stewed together in this dish that needs nothing other than a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil, a handful of fresh herbs, and some crusty Italian bread. 

White bowl with ciambotta and basil leaf garnish.

Never has there been a dish that pays homage to Italian summer vegetables as perfectly as ciambotta.  Think of it as Italian ratatouille.

It is full of complex flavors and textures, thanks to the variety of vegetables and herbs used. 

But what I love most is its inherent dualities. 

 

Ciambotta is hearty like a stew, but because it is made only from vegetables, there is a lightness to it. 

Summer months are typically too hot for soup and stews, but since ciambotta is made using the vegetables of summer, it is always welcome on our table, even on the most sultry of nights.

This bowlful of contradictions is one of my favorite things ever.  And I know you will love it too.

Large pan filled with ciambotta and topped with basil and mint.

Ciambotta variations

Depending on where you, or your ancestors are from, you may have different ways of saying or spelling ciambotta.  

Giambotta, giambot, cianfotta, ciambotta Calabrese, or ciambotta Napoletana, are all acceptable, and they all loosely refer to the same dish.

You may find variations of this summer stew that includes Italian sausage.  Chicken thighs can also be stewed along with the veggies.  

My recipe has its own variation.  And if you know me at all, you may be able to guess what that is.  

That’s right, cherry peppers.  Traditionally, cherry peppers are not used in ciambotta, but I find that it gives this stew a little something extra.  The subtle heat and the slight vinegar taste really enhance the flavors of the stew.  

Vegetables shown: Peppers, carrots, zucchini, herbs, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, garlic, and onion.

How to make ciambotta

Each number corresponds to the numbered written steps below.

  1. Begin by chopping your vegetables:  cube the zucchini, eggplant, and potatoes.  Chop the carrots and onion.  Chop the bell peppers and cubanelle peppers into 1″ squares.  Remove the stems and seeds from the cherry peppers and give them a rough chop.  In a pot or Dutch oven, saute the onion in the olive oil for a few minutes over medium-low heat.  Add the garlic and cook for 2 more minutes.

Ciambotta recipe process shot collage group number one.

  1. Turn the heat to medium, and add the eggplant, cooking for 5 minutes while stirring frequently.  
  2. Add the peppers, potatoes, zucchini, carrots, and cherry peppers.  Stir frequently to coat the vegetables with olive oil.

Ciambotta recipe process shot collage group number two.

  1. After about 20 minutes, add the tomatoes and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally.  Note:  I used 6 fresh Roma tomatoes that were blanched and deseeded for this recipe, however, for convenience’s sake, I recommend using a 28 oz can of plum tomatoes that have been drained and hand crushed.  The instructions in the recipe card are for canned tomatoes.
  2. Cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and allow the vegetables to cook until very soft, about 30-40 minutes.  If at any time the veggies seem too dry, add some water to loosen them up and prevent burning.  

Recipe process shot collage group number three.

  1. When the vegetables are soft, season the ciambotta with salt and pepper to taste.  Add the basil and mint and give it a stir.  Finish by drizzling more extra virgin olive oil on top.  Serve with crusty Italian bread and generous amounts of grated cheese.  Enjoy!

Italian vegetable stew in white bowl held in hands.

More summer vegetable dishes

If you like ciambotta, it’s safe to say you probably enjoy your veggies.  Here are some of my favorite vegetable dishes using the veggies that are most abundant in the summer.  

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Ciambotta

5 from 9 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings: 6
Ciambotta is a delightfully nourishing stew made from summer vegetables, like zucchini, eggplant, peppers, potatoes, and tomatoes. Topped with fresh herbs and grated cheese, this is one of our family favorites.

Ingredients 

  • 1 medium onion chopped
  • 2 medium zucchini cubed
  • 1 medium eggplant cubed
  • 2 medium carrots chopped
  • 2 large bell peppers chopped into 1" squares
  • 1 large Italian frying pepper (cubanelle) chopped into 1" squares
  • 3 medium cherry peppers seeded and stems removed, chopped, optional
  • 5 medium Yukon Gold potatoes cubed
  • 1 28 ounce can plum tomatoes drained and hand crushed
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 1/4 cup basil chopped
  • 2 tablespoons mint chopped
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil plus extra for finishing
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions 

  • In a large high walled pot or Dutch oven saute the onion in the olive oil for a few minutes over medium-low heat. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.
  • Turn the heat to medium and add in the eggplant and cook for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Then, add in the peppers, potatoes, zucchini, carrots, and cherry peppers. Stir frequently to coat the vegetables with olive oil.
  • After about 20 minutes add in the tomatoes and keep heat at a low simmer, stirring occasionally. Cover the pot, leaving the lid slightly ajar, and let the vegetables cook until very soft (about 30-40 minutes more). If at any time the veggies seem too dry add a bit of water to loosen things up and prevent burning.
  • When the vegetables are soft, season the ciambotta with salt and pepper to taste. Add in all of the basil and mint and give it a stir. Drizzle more extra virgin olive oil on top before serving. Serve with crusty Italian bread and grated cheese. Enjoy!

Notes

  • Recipe makes 6 large bowls or 8 moderate-sized portions.
  • Ciambotta can be served on the thicker or thinner side.  For more of a soupy texture add more water.
  • Cherry peppers are optional but give the stew such a wonderful flavor.
  • Serve with chicken or sausage for a full meal and extra protein.
  • Refrigerate for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Reheat in the microwave or over medium-low heat on the stovetop.

Nutrition

Calories: 360kcal | Carbohydrates: 49.1g | Protein: 7.1g | Fat: 17.7g | Saturated Fat: 2.5g | Sodium: 441mg | Potassium: 1532mg | Fiber: 10.7g | Sugar: 14.6g | Calcium: 74mg | Iron: 3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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13 Comments

  1. Larry Blake says:

    5 stars
    Really good and fresh. Adding the vinegar from the cherry pepper jar (I used jalapeno jar) gives a nice tang.

    1. Tara says:

      We’re so happy you enjoyed this one, Larry!

  2. patricia olczak says:

    5 stars
    I couldn’t get enough! I had it for dinner as a side with pork tenderloin and again the next day for breakfast and lunch !!! HAAAAAAAAAAAAA I did not add the potatoes but I will the next time..Oh boy I can’t wait to make it again.. I’m going to add some hot hot peppers because I’m one of those kind.. Thanks a million James!

    1. Tara says:

      We’re so happy you enjoyed it, Patricia!

  3. Jan Tate says:

    5 stars
    My grandmother was from just outside of Naples. She always made this in the summer and called it boba. I make it all year as I’m trying to eat more veggies and this is something my meat-eater husband likes. Sometimes I add cannellini beans to add some protein, and dark kale. I also add the rind from a good hard cheese. So good!

    1. Tara says:

      We’re so happy you enjoyed the recipe!

  4. Nancy Maccaro Borakowski says:

    5 stars
    Wonderful dish always enjoyed it growing up. Haven’t made it in years. On my list for this week. Minus hot peppers. Jim loving all your recipes.

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Nancy, thanks for the comment and hope you enjoy! I’m so happy to hear you’re enjoying the recipes!

  5. Linda Mary Ball says:

    5 stars
    One of my all time favorites….my Grandmother always made this with fresh produce from the garden….thanks for the memories….

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Linda, thanks for the comment and so happy you enjoyed the recipe!

  6. Deborah says:

    5 stars
    Made this recipe yesterday (minus the cherry peppers because I didn’t have any) and it was marvelous! Thanks for an easy, healthy recipe. Love watching your videos!

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Deborah, thank you for the comment. I’m so happy you enjoyed the ciambotta!

  7. Diane says:

    like my mother’s receipe-