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Pisto manchego

This sauce originated in Pedro Almodóvar's hometown of La Mancha. The filmmaker emphasizes it is never eaten on its own, but is the perfect accompaniment to tortilla española, spread over meat or fish, mixed with fried eggs or just slathered on bread.

Serves 4

1/3cup extra-virgin olive oil
1pound sweet green chili peppers, seeded and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch rings
2pounds ripe, fleshy tomatoes, peeled and chopped
Pinch of sugar
Salt, to taste
1. In a 9-inch stainless-steel or enamel frying pan, heat all but 1 tablespoon of the oil over high heat. Add the peppers and lower heat to medium. Cook, stirring frequently, until the peppers soften and turn almost golden. Remove the peppers from the pan.

2. Add the tomatoes to the pan; bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium and cook for 15 minutes or until the tomato liquid is absorbed. Add the sugar, salt, and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook for 10 minutes, stirring constantly, until the mixture is a thick puree.

3. Add the peppers to the tomatoes, mix well, and cook for 5 minutes. Remove from heat. The pisto should have a golden layer of oil on top.

4. After the pisto cools, cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours to allow the flavors to develop. Reheat to serve with tortilla española. Adapted from Antonia and María Jesús Almodóvar and "The Cuisines of Spain" by Teresa Barrenechea .