Casa Rosales

Casa Rosales

Wednesday, 2 February 2011


No.. nothing rude here.

Pisto Manchego is a Spanish recipe and we ate it today because it's one of my favourites. I don't want to cause arguments between neighbouring countries - I don't know which came first - the Spanish Pisto or the French Ratatouille. They are very similar and probably evolved at roughly the same time.

Before I met FR, I was a total Francophile - I loved the country, I loved the language, I loved the food - heavens, I even loved the people. (When we met, I knew just two words in Spanish, left over from a year's study in the sixth form where Caroline and I were Mr. Twistleton's only pupils but I drove him mad as I couldn't learn vocabulary - I could remember the first letter of a word I was supposed to have learned but not the rest - Caroline usually finished it off for me. But for some reason, I have always remembered 'mantequilla' and 'zapato'* - but never managed to get them both into one sentence... ooh, apart from just now - does that count?

Major digression - where was I? Ah yes, in France. So for me, ratatouille came first. I make a good one and I remember making one for FR once, early on in our relationship and being  furious totally appalled a bit put out that he offered to 'improve' it (so that he could eat it!) He cut potatoes into little chunks, fried them, added them to my ratatouille then broke an egg into it and stirred it round til it cooked into curdled little strands. I wasn't impressed - especially as he then proceeded to instruct me as to how small to cut up the courgette and pepper and to leave out the aubergine next time. (As I write and the memory comes flooding back, I am wondering on exactly what basis our relationship continued after this....)
He's just looked over my shoulder to see why I am laughing and now we're both laughing, so perhaps that's why.

It's one of those posts...sorry! It's been one of those days! But more of that another time... back to the pisto/ratatouille - pistotouille? rasto? Well, anyway, last August, Amelia brought heaps of tomatoes and peppers and courgettes back from Leon one weekend and said I must make pisto. I remember having a lovely morning de-skinning the tomatoes and making a wonderful base for the pisto, then chopping the rest of the vegetables - the onions, the courgettes, the red and green peppers (no aubergine) into the right size - then cooking the whole lot much longer than I should would  have done for a ratatouille - more of a sauce, shall we say - before adding some fried potatoes. Just before serving, taking it off the heat and taking care to keep stirring, I added an egg which didn't clump but thickened the sauce beautifully. And discovered that over time I have come to prefer pisto to ratatouille.

I haven't photographed the one I made today - I didn't think about it - but I found this post on a now forgotten blog which says all there is to say about the two dishes and says it very eloquently - just in case you wanted to know. And there was also this picture which shows the difference between the two to perfection.

I think you can see which is which, though I think the pisto would look better in the terracotta dish.

*(Butter and shoe for non-Spanish speakers.)

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