Granted, I don’t have a really pretty picture (like chili, ratatouille doesn’t photograph extremely well) or a charming back story to accompany this impromptu post. What I do have is a fantastic recipe for what I often call “Late Summer Ratatouille”, or in this case, Early Fall Ratatouille, since it is, in fact, early fall.
That’s a quite wordy way to say, simply put, this is a really good recipe! I started making it a couple of years ago in an attempt to cut down on wasted farmers’ market produce. Make a huge pot and freeze whatever you don’t eat for a little taste of summer in early winter, even. If you don’t have all the veggies listed, no problem. Most of them are optional (and unlike traditional ratatouille, this one include green beans!). As long as you have onions and garlic for flavor, and tomatoes for the “saucy factor”, zucchini and/or eggplant for meatiness, you’re good to go. You’ll still have a delicious veggie-style stew.
Makes a huge pot!
- 3 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, half-diced, half thinly sliced
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 cup green beans, trimmed and cut into 1/2″ pieces
- 2 small zucchini, medium-diced
- 1 small yellow squash, medium-diced
- 3 baby eggplants, peeled and diced
- 2 red and/or orange bell peppers, diced
- 2 large tomatoes, diced
- 2 Tbsp. tomato paste
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 1 tsp. Herbes de Provence
- 1/4 tsp. crushed red pepper
- coarse salt and black pepper
- 1/4 cup (or more) grated parmesan cheese
- 1 Tbsp (or so) chopped parsley and/or basil
1. First, heat the olive oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the vegetables in the order listed and lightly season (add a dash of salt and pepper) as you add each vegetable.
2. Add tomato paste, herbes de Provence and crushed red pepper. Stir thoroughly.
3. Cover and simmer over very low heat for 30-40 minutes. Check often to make sure it’s not burning (if it is, scrape the bottom of the pan and mix-this actually adds more flavor!)
4. Add parmesan cheese and fresh herbs. Stir and serve!
Ratatouille makes for a super tasty and comforting side dish for roasted chicken or grilled meats, but really, it’s lovely straight out of the pot as a light vegetarian meal. It’s even good as a quesadilla filling or as a condiment for hamburgers or sandwiches.
Bon App tout le monde!