Sunday, May 19, 2013

Ratatouille: Who would've thunk it?

In researching this recipe, I found many different vegetables used.  Most called for bell pepper, but I felt the sweetness would take over the dish.  The way I prepared this had a perfect and surprising (much like the food critic's response in the movie of the same name) delicious, rustic, natural flavor.  Most recipes also called for only using tomato paste...by thinning it out a bit, it made for a perfect balance and consistency.  I thought I was putting an Italian spin on it, but found it did not taste Italian at all.  ENJOY!

Ingredients:
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small eggplant
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 1 small sweet onion
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 4 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 pinch red pepper flake
  • 1 pinch dried basil
  • 1 small can tomato paste
  • 1 large can crushed tomatoes
  • salt and fresh ground black pepper
  1. Using a mandolin, slice veggies into even cuts.  (For the eggplant you may need to use a knife)
  2. In a medium sauce pan saute' garlic cloves with 2 T olive oil until golden brown.
  3. Add pepper flake and basil once the garlic has browned. I eat garlic every day and made sure that the two cloves went into my serving.  You can remove and discard, or mince the garlic and recombine in the sauce
  4. Slowly and carefully add the crushed tomatoes.
  5. Stir in the tomato paste until well combined.
  6. Cover and simmer on medium low for about 10 minutes.
  7. In a shallow baking dish, cover the entire bottom with the sauce in an even coat.
  8. Fan the vegetables one on top of the other until the pan is covered (the order I placed the vegetables: eggplant, onion, zucchini, squash).
  9. Drizzle with remaining olive oil and add a liberal amount of salt and pepper.
  10. Place the baking dish in a preheated 375 degree oven for 45 minutes.
  11. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before serving.
Goes great with a really crispy bread such as ciabatta.  This is a perfect meatless meal and is surprisingly rich, hearty, and filling.