Thanks to Remy, the medley of vegetables that is ratatouille that had been indelibly imprinted on my taste buds almost a decade ago, was no longer just another unpronounceable French dish. I empathized completely with Ego as he ate every spoonful of ratatouille, even though I prefer the chunky version to the layered confit byaldi that was served to him in the movie. Mmmmmm!
Recently I came home with $10 loot from the Louisville Farmers Market. It contained 7 green bell peppers, which by themselves would have cost me $7 anywhere else. Then there were large succulent zucchinis and gorgeous farm fresh tomatoes. All locally grown. I supplemented these with an eggplant from the grocery store and other veggies that I had at home to make the best ratatouille ever! Most of this ratatouille went to one of my neighbors whose little boy decided to announce his arrival 2 months before his time. Along with it went lentil stew, pasta salad and Greek pitas. I think I was really lucky to have chanced upon such fresh, locally grown veggies just in time for my turn on the dinner calendar for my neighbors. I think I received well before I was able to pay it forward.
- 1/4 cup olive oil (+ another 2 tbsp, if desired)
- 1 medium eggplant, diced into 1 inch pieces (approx 1lb)
- 1 lb zucchini, also diced into 1 inch pieces
- 1.5 cups sliced onions
- 2 large red bell peppers, cut into 1 inch squares
- 3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
- 1.5 cups fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded and chopped or
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
- 1 bay leaf
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped parsley, optional
- Heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large pot over high heat.
- Add eggplant and zucchini chunks. Cook until golden and just tender, stirring frequently, about 10-12 minutes.
- Remove cooked vegetables carefully to a large plate, draining the oil back into the pot as much as possible. Turn down the heat to medium-high.
- Add additional 2 tbsp olive oil only if required.
- Add sliced onions and cook until the onions are slightly softened.
- Add bell peppers and chopped garlic and cook until just tender.
- Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper to suit your taste.
- Add the diced tomatoes, rosemary and bay leaf.
- Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 5 minutes.
- Add the eggplant and zucchini and toss to coat the vegetables with the onion and tomato mixture.
- Cook for another 15-20 minutes until everything is tender.
- Garnish with chopped parsley and serve.
- I chose to use green bell peppers instead of red bell peppers since that is what I had on hand. Red bell peppers add color to this dish.
- The original recipe called for peeling the eggplant but I chose not to. If you have issues with the thick peel, take it off and then dice the eggplant into 1 inch chunks.
- Once I had shared with my neighbors, I added some crushed red pepper to the ratatouille to up the heat a little bit.
To those who thought and still think - and there are quite a few that fall into the latter category, believe me - that the animated Rat Chef was called Ratatouille? I am really sorry for you. Truly. But don't let that stop you from recreating it.
I am sending this colorful ratatouille made mainly of locally grown vegetables to Beth of Muffin Love for her event, Living la Vida Local.
Tomorrow, July 15, is the last day for the fund raiser for Bri.
There are amazing prizes waiting for a bid. Now is your chance to help support a fellow blogger.