Preheat oven to 400°F and arrange a rack in the middle of the oven. Then, prep and gather all ingredients according to specifications above.
Toast pine nuts: Add pine nuts to a small skillet and place it over medium-low heat. Heat pine nuts until lightly browned and fragrant, stirring occasionally, about 2 to 3 minutes. Do not walk away! Pine nuts (or any nut, for that matter) can turn from toasted to burned very quickly; so, close monitoring is a must. Once toasted, remove them from heat and let them cool. This step can be done up to 1 day in advance.
½ cup pine nuts
Spray three parchment-lined sheet pans lightly with oil. Then, arrange the prepped bell peppers, zucchini/yellow squash and eggplant in a single layer on separate pans since they all cook at varying times. Spray the tops of the vegetables lightly with olive oil. Do not add any salt.
2 pounds eggplant,, 1½ pounds zucchini or yellow squash, 1½ pounds red, yellow or orange bell peppers (no green),
Place the sheet pans in the oven and roast for 20 minutes. Turn all the pans around and roast until tender and lightly browned. This may take about another 20-30 minutes for the peppers about 30 minutes or so for the zucchini and eggplant, depending on your oven. The vegetables should be tender but not overcooked and mushy. It’s ok if some of the pieces get fairy caramelized as they will look very beautiful in the final dish!
Meanwhile, while the vegetables are roasting in the oven, add the onions, olive oil and crushed red pepper (if including) to a large skillet over medium heat and cook for 5 minutes. Then, add the celery and cook for another 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Then, turn off the heat. The vegetables should have a little bit of crunch at this point and not be overcooked and very soft.
1 pound yellow onion,, ½ cup extra virgin olive oil, Pinch crushed red pepper, 5 large celery stalks
Once the eggplant, zucchini/squash and bell peppers are all finished cooking, return the onion/celery mixture to medium heat.
Whisk the vinegar and sugar together, then pour it into the onion mixture, along with the olives, capers, raisins, salt and black pepper and mix well. Bring to a simmer and let it simmer about 3-5 minutes.
¾ cup red wine vinegar, ¾ cup sugar, ¾ cup pitted, large green olives,, ½ cup capers, drained, ½ cup raisins, ½ tsp salt, Pinch freshly ground black pepper
Then, gently stir in all of the roasted vegetables and mix to coat well, taking care not to break up the pieces of roasted veggies.
Bring mixture to a simmer and let it simmer for 5-8 minutes, gently stirring a few times. You want the entire mixture to be coated in the vinegar/sugar solution. Taste and adjust the seasonings–add more vinegar or sugar as needed to balance the flavors.
Turn off the heat and let the mixture cool a bit. Use a slotted spoon or skimmer to transfer the caponata to a bowl or container and discard any residual liquid. Alternatively, you can keep the mixture in the residual liquid–see Note below.
The caponata can be served immediately or enjoyed later. It actually will get better as it sits (although the color may darken over time)! Just bring it to room temperature and give it a light stir before serving. Fold in the pine nuts and herbs at the time of serving. Buon Appetito!
⅓ cup chopped mixed herbs