Caponata with Cannellini Beans

I do not love eggplant but I love Italian food. My oldest friend recommended I try Jamie Oliver's Aubergine (eggplant) Stew years ago. I was hesitant to say the least but I'm so glad I decided to live a little and eat eggplant. Caponata is delightfully salty/briny from the olives and capers, and the horrible spongy texture I expect from eggplant was nowhere to be found. I like to add beans to make it a meal but you can leave them out for a lighter side dish.

Ingredients

3 tablespoons olive oil
2 - 3 small eggplants, cut into 1-inch chunks (approximately 4 cups)
1 heaped teaspoon dried oregano
salt and pepper
1 medium red onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons pickled capers
1/2 cup green olives, pits removed and sliced
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
3 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 can (540mL) cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
fresh parsley, chopped
Asiago cheese

Directions

Heat olive oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add eggplant, oregano, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring often, for 5 - 6 minutes until eggplant becomes golden.

Add onion and garlic and continue to cook, adding more oil if the pot becomes too dry, for 4 - 5 minutes until onion is translucent.

Stir in capers, olives, and vinegar, scraping the golden bits off the bottom of the pot, until vinegar is mostly evaporated.

Add tomatoes and beans and simmer, stirring occasionally, for 15 minutes or until tomatoes lose their shape.

Sprinkle with fresh parsley and Asiago cheese to serve.

Serves four as a main meal or 6 as a side dish.

Pro tip: this dish is even better as leftovers after the flavours have a chance to really develop.

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