Spicy vegetable preserve

This recipe for ‘verdure piccante’ is an excellent way of using up surplus summer vegetables. Recipe and image by Mario Matassa

spicy vegetables preserve
Makes 4 x 500g jars
Preparation time 20 minutes, plus overnight drying
Cooking time 5 minutes, plus sterilising


• 2kg mixed vegetables, including aubergines, courgettes, sweet red and yellow peppers, red onions, etc

• 1 litre of white wine vinegar

• a pinch of salt

• 2 bay leaves

• a large sprig of thyme

• a small bunch of oregano

• 4 red chillies, finely sliced

• 500ml extra-virgin olive oil


1 Chop all the vegetables into strips about 5mm thick. Pour 3 litres of water into a large pan and add the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Bring the water to the boil. 

2 Add all the vegetables and boil for 5 minutes. (It may be easier to do this in two batches if you don’t have a pan large enough – just use half the quantity of water and vinegar each time.) 

3 Remove the vegetables with a slotted spoon. Place on kitchen paper and pat dry with more kitchen paper. Transfer to a wire rack or something similar and leave them to dry completely overnight. 

4 Meanwhile, fill a large, high-sided saucepan with water. Place a clean tea towel on the bottom and wrap your jars in cloth napkins. Place the jars in the water, ensuring that the water level is at least 4cm over the jars. Bring the water to the boil and sterilise the jars for 20 minutes. Leave the jars in the pan until the water has cooled, then remove the jars and store them in a cool, dark place.

5 Put the vegetables in the sterilised jars with the bay leaves, herbs and chillies. Pack the vegetables down gently and fill the jars with oil. It is important that the oil covers the vegetables. 

Find more Italian preserve ideas here

You can find plenty more delicious Italian-inspired recipes here