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r a t a t o u i l l e

August 1, 2007

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no – not the movie – though it was the movie that caused me to drag out this little-used recipe and give it a go.

this french peasant dish is a little labor intensive, but by no means difficult and well worth the effort.

i n g r e d i e n t s ::

olive oil*

1 medium red oninon

3 cloves garlic (minced or crushed – i use roasted garlic)

1 lb each zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant (the small graffiti eggplants have great texture and flavor)

2 medium bell peppers (red, yellow, or orange – don’t use the green if you don’t have to)

1 lb ripe tomatoes (i like the roma tomatoes – the ones that are roughly the size and shape of chicken eggs)

1 large (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp coarse black pepper

2 tbsp herbs de provence (marjoram, rosemary, thyme, basil and bay leaf)

i n s t r u c t i o n s ::

heat your oven to 400 degrees.

chop up onion and garlic

using an oven-safe pan, cook your onions in olive oil over medium heat until soft (5-7 minutes).

begin chopping your veggies into half-inch cubes, starting with the zucchini

when your onions begin to show transparent it is time to reduce the heat and add the garlic. leave that pan on the back burner.

in another large frying pan, heat 2 tbsp olive oil* over medium high heat and dump in enough zucchini to cover the bottom of the pan.

brown on all sides and add to pan with onions and garlic. continue until all veggies except tomatoes are done. add olive oil* as needed between batches.

when all the veggies are in the onion pan, turn the heat to high and stir to keep from sticking. add salt and pepper and herbs and crushed tomatoes. keep stirring until well blended, then put pan in oven uncovered.

cook for one hour.

while the ratatouille is cooking, go ahead and chop up your tomatoes, also into roughly 1/2 inch cubes and set aside.

during the rest of the cooking time get together any side dishes you might be preparing. warmed french baguette is great and i like to lay down a bed of rice or boiled potatoes under mine (thats about 35 minutes for you guys who aren’t cheating with powdered taters or instant rice)

tonight i turned my boiled potatoes into garlic mashed potatoes (i used 3 large russet potatoes with the thin skins, chopped before cooking, and then mixed them in a blender with 1 tsp garlic salt, 2 tbsp butter and 1/4 cup of milk)

when your ratatouille has cooked for an hour, pull it out and dump it in a colander over a bowl.

wipe out your pan** with a paper towel and put it on the stove over medium heat.

pour the juices in the catch-bowl into the pan and reduce, stirring constantly. keep adding juices as they flow down into the bowl (i had to do this 3 times). once reduced, return your veggies to the pan and mix well. they should be nice and shiny. then add your raw tomatoes, fold in, and remove from heat.

cover pan and let sit for 10-15 minutes to let your tomatoes *cook*

serve hot over rice or potatoes or by itself

*i recommend an olive oil rated for medium high heat. these are not as fine as dressing grade olive oils that are meant to be eaten raw, or even low to medium heat olive oils for light sautéing, but they won’t scorch.

**if you are using a steel or iron frying pan, the natural inclination will be to just grab the handle once it is up on the stove. drape an oven mitt over the handle to remind yourself it’s still scalding hot (yes this is the voice of experience talking).

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. August 1, 2007 18:58

    That was awesome stuff sweetie. Thanks for dinner!

  2. August 1, 2007 19:09

    no problem
    glad you liked

  3. Red permalink
    August 1, 2007 23:51

    Looks/sounds yummy.

  4. August 3, 2007 20:18

    i’m hungry now. 😦

  5. August 6, 2007 10:08

    definitely going to give this one a try! 🙂

    want to submit it to our healthy recipe carnival?

  6. August 6, 2007 10:13

    ooooh I just had an idea of what to serve this over – spagetti squash. I count every single calorie so I try to stay away from the starchy veggies and rice (though perhaps some brown rice once in awhile or a serving of a high protein pasta).

  7. August 6, 2007 10:33

    honestly, serving over another squash is almost pointless (though i do have a garden marinara that i do exactly that with it)

    in the ratatouille the chunks of eggplant, zucchini, and squash are so prominent and – well, *meaty* for lack of a better word – that you really don’t need to serve it *over* anything at all.

    the starches are included to add a different texture/flavor component, but it definitely stands alone without them.

    as for being a *healthy* recipe, i would have to add the caveat that it is still a high fat recipe. my ratatouille recipe has been accused of being *an excuse to consume copious amounts of olive oil *

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