Caponata - Sicilian Aubergine Stew Recipe

This traditional aubergine casserole is one of my favourite vegetable dishes, but so hard to get right.  The Sicilian classic is perfected in the Carluccio chain of restaurants and, although I've experimented with lots of different recipes, I always come back to Antonio Carluccio’s version from Complete Italian Food, with a couple of tiny tweaks.  Serve with a selection of other antipasti dishes as a starter or lunch for 4-6 people, although it does keep very well in the fridge for a couple of days and the flavours intensify.  Works as a pasta sauce or warm side dish too.

Italian Caponata (Aubergine Stew)


1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
4 sticks of celery, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
900g aubergine, cut into large cubes (approx. 2.5cm/1 inch size)
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp good quality tomato puree
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tbsp salted capers.
20 green olives, pitted and chopped
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tbsp pine nuts


1. In a large pan, fry the onion, garlic and celery on a medium heat for a few minutes until softened.

2. Add the aubergine and stir for a good 5-10 minutes, until the aubergine looks glossy and is soft.  Turn it regularly to cook evenly.

3. Add the tinned tomatoes, tomato puree, sugar, capers, olives and vinegar and stir thoroughly to combine.

4. Bring to a simmer, then taste and season accordingly.

5. Keep the pan on a steady simmer for about 20 minutes until everything is soft and combined.

6. Whilst it's cooking, toast the pine nuts in a dry pan.  Stir through the stew towards the end of cooking.

7. Serve hot as an accompaniment or over pasta as a sauce.  Serve warm or at room temperature as part of an antipasti feast.  Leftovers will keep in the fridge for 2-3 days.

Pin it:

And don't forget to enter our competitions!