top of page
  • Writer's picturePasta Grammar

Caponata di Melanzane | Authentic Italian Eggplant Recipe

Updated: Apr 18, 2023

There are many caponata recipes in Italy, but this is our favorite way to make the classic eggplant dish. Its sweet and sour flavor is incredibly deep and complex. This is a great side dish to make ahead for a meal the next day, as it is ideally served after a night in the fridge.

Caponata Siciliana | Authentic Italian Eggplant Caponata Recipe

Watch the Pasta Grammar video where we make this recipe here:

Serves 3-4.

For this recipe, you will need:

  • 1/4 cup (40g) raisins

  • 1 large eggplant, chopped into 1/2-inch cubes

  • Frying oil (preferably olive, but vegetable oil will work)

  • 4 tbsp pine nuts

  • 3-4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/2 red onion, sliced thin

  • 2 stalks celery, chopped

  • 10-15 large green olives, pitted and halved (kalamata olives also work well)

  • 2 tbsp capers

  • 4 vine tomatoes, quartered

  • Salt

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) white wine vinegar

  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar

  • 1 tbsp tomato paste

  • Fresh basil

Place the raisins in a small dish and submerge them in water. Allow them to soak while you fry the eggplant.

Fill a deep pan with about 3 inches of frying oil. Bring it up to medium heat while you cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes. The oil is hot enough when you can drop in a piece of eggplant and it begins to bubble and fry immediately.

Working in batches if necessary, carefully drop the eggplant chunks into the oil and fry, stirring frequently, until they are lightly browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon to a paper towel to drain.

Toast the pine nuts in a small skillet over medium/high heat for just a minute or two, stirring or tossing them constantly. Set aside for later. Also drain the raisins.

Add the olive oil and onion into a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté until the onion has tenderized a bit, then stir in the celery, olives, capers, raisins and pine nuts. Cook these together, stirring frequently, for about 10 minutes before adding the tomatoes.

Salt to taste, lower the heat, and cover the pan. Cook at a gentle simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. If necessary, add a little bit of water if the caponata dries out too much and risks burning.

Meanwhile, combine the vinegar, sugar and tomato paste in a cup and stir all together. After the caponata has cooked for 30 minutes, add the vinegar mixture. Raise the heat, bring it to a brisk simmer, and stir all together for 2-3 minutes. Salt it to taste as it cooks. If you like, you can pick out and discard the tomato skins.

Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the fried eggplant and a few leaves of torn basil. Let the caponata cool completely before serving. Better yet, refrigerate it over night and serve it the next day.

Buon appetito!

15,791 views3 comments

Recent Posts

See All

3 commentaires

17 juin 2023

This is delicious, thank you for the recipe! I was out of fresh tomatoes, so, I substituted sun dried, and, added garlic. It was great! I am making it again today, but have fresh tomatoes. I will also add some thin sliced fennel to experiment. I put some on a pizza I made, with mozzarella, and the rest we consumed with a good crusty bread and vino! This will be a staple in our fridge. We love it!


Riccardo De'Medici
Riccardo De'Medici
15 févr. 2023

Yummy! It is perfect as is! For variety I like to add some red pepperoni (not the meat!). I love It on friselle for a light lunch. It is also good under a piece of grilled codfish…. I have a sneaky feeling it can be a pasta sauce!


24 août 2022

Doubled the recipe (on Harper's advice). Madon'! So sublime! We _do_ have some for tomorrow; if it's any better than today I will actually smack my Siciliana mother (she's been askin' for it anyway)...

bottom of page