Remember that bunch of lovely veggies from my CSA share last week? With the zucchini, eggplant, some onions, and some tomatoes, basil and parsley from my garden, I made ratatouille. I realize I’m probably late to the ratatouille party – from what I can recall, it seemed that everyone made this dish back when the movie debuted. I never tried it before (that I can remember, anyway), and I wanted to see what it was like. While I typically lean towards fast and fresh veggie recipes in the summer months, I just knew this was something I wanted to take the time to try.
Boy, was I glad I did. What a burst of flavors! The long simmering time didn’t lessen the freshness factor either – with the fresh basil garnishing the dish, it seemed like every bite was summer. Leftovers reheated beautifully too – I enjoyed some for breakfast (yes, breakfast!) with scrambled eggs the next morning. It was a dish that seemed rich in flavor, but pretty light in calories. I am hoping to see more eggplant and zucchini in my future, so I have an excuse to make this dish a few more times before summer is over. Next time you want a superstar side dish, this is a sure winner. I enjoyed it with some lamb chops, and while I adored the lamb, the ratatouille pretty much stole the show.
Ratatouille, adapted from Gourmet magazine
1 lb tomatoes
4 large garlic cloves, sliced
1/2 c chopped fresh parsley
10 fresh basil leaves, torn, plus more for garnish
3-4 T olive oil
1 lb eggplant, cut into 1-inch pieces
1 large onion, sliced
1 red and 1 yellow bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 lbs zucchini, cut into 1-inch pieces
If using large red tomatoes, cut an X on the bottom of each tomato, and drop into a pot of boiling water for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and allow cool. Peel, and chop. (If using yellow pear tomatoes, cherry, or grape tomatoes, you can skip this step.)
Add tomatoes along with garlic,parsley, basil, and 1 tablespoon of oil in a large saucepan. Simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until tomatoes break down and start to make a sauce (about 30 minutes).
While sauce is simmering, toss eggplant with about 1/4 teaspoon of salt in a colander and allow to sit in sink for 30 minutes.
Cook onions and peppers in 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10-12 minutes. Season with a bit of salt. Add to the tomato-garlic mixture. Add more oil if you need it to the skillet, and cook eggplant for 3-4 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the zucchini and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-7 minutes. Season with a bit of salt and add this to the other ingredients in the saucepan. Season with pepper to taste and simmer, stirring occasionally, covered, for an hour, or until vegetables are very tender. Adjust seasoning to taste, and serve garnished with a touch of basil.