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Sweet-and-Sour Vegetable Caponatina

Sergio Sigala uses an intense sweet-and-sour reduction of white wine vinegar and sugar to flavor his version of the classic Sicilian vegetable medley, caponata. He cuts the vegetables into small pieces, which explains the diminutive name.

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  • Total Time:
  • Servings: MAKES ABOUT 6 CUPS

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  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, finely chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • Two 1-pound eggplants, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 medium zucchini, cut into 1/4-inch dice
  • 2 large tomatoes, seeded and finely chopped
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tablespoons capers, rinsed and finely chopped
  • 8 black olives, such as Gaeta or Calamata, pitted and chopped
  • 5 large basil leaves, shredded


  1. In a small skillet, toast the pine nuts over moderate heat, shaking the skillet frequently, until golden, about 5 minutes. Transfer to a plate and let cool.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine the vinegar and sugar and boil, then cook over high heat until reduced by half, about 6 minutes. Let cool.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Add the onions and celery and cook over moderate heat until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Stir in the eggplants and cook for 5 minutes. Add the red and yellow bell peppers and cook for 3 minutes, then stir in the zucchini and tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes longer. Gradually stir in the reduced vinegar; season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring often, until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Stir in the capers, olives, pine nuts and basil. Season with salt and pepper and serve.

Make Ahead

The caponatina can be refrigerated for up to 2 days.

Contributed By Photo © John Kernick Published April 2003

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