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In a large, heavy skillet, heat 1/4 cup olive oil over a medium flame. Add 1 chopped celery stalk and sauté until crisp-tender, about 2 minutes. Add 1 medium eggplant (or 3 to 4 Japanese eggplants), cut into ½ -inch cubes, and sauté until it begins to soften, about 2 minutes.

Add 1 chopped medium onion and sauté until translucent, about 3 minutes.
Add 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded and cut into ½ -inch pieces, and cook until crisp-tender, about 5 minutes.

Add 1 (14 ½ -ounce) can diced tomatoes with their juices,

3 tablespoons raisins

and 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano. Simmer over medium-low heat until the flavors blend and the mixture thickens, stirring often, about 20 minutes.

Stir in 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 4 teaspoons sugar, 1 tablespoon drained capers and 1/2 teaspoon each salt and pepper , or to taste. Transfer caponata to a bowl, garnish with basil leaves and serve. Makes 6 side-dish servings.

SOURCE: Everyday Italian by Giada de Laurentiis

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