Summer is slipping away. Soon we will enjoy those cool, crisp Fall days. But for now we still have eggplant, tomatoes, zucchini and basil. Add some garlic, onions, tomato paste, red pepper flakes and you have the makings of a great dish. Ratatouille!
I confess I hadn’t heard of ratatouille until Disney made a movie about a rat in Paris who wanted to be a chef. I decided to try the recipe on my own a few years ago. I’ve made ratatouille a couple different ways but this is one of the best recipes I’ve used. So kudos to Jenn Segal. I will put the link to her entire recipe at the bottom.
I halved the recipe. I also like the flavor of bell pepper but I don’t like to actually eat peppers. I cut the peppers in large pieces and just pulled them out before I served it. I used red and orange tomatoes to give it more color. Chopping everything up is a bit time consuming but totally worth it in the end.
Ratatouille can be served as a side dish. If you want to serve it over whole wheat pasta add extra tomatoes so you have more sauce. Now you have a great meatless meal.
By Jennifer Segal
Servings: 8 (Makes about 7 cups)
Prep Time: 30 Minutes
Cook Time: 45 Minutes
Total Time: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
- 1 large (1.25 lb) eggplant, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
- 2 medium zucchini (about 1 lb), cut into 1/3-inch cubes
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 1 red, orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
- 5 large cloves garlic, chopped
- 5 large vine-ripened tomatoes (1.75 lb), cut into 1/3-inch cubes, with their juices
- 1 tablespoon tomato paste
- 2 teaspoons fresh chopped thyme, plus more for serving
- 3/4 teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
- 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
- Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
- Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan (no need to clean it). Add the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and transfer to a plate; set aside.
- Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 3 minutes more. Do not brown. Add the tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, thyme, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes (if using) and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are broken down into a sauce, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cooked eggplant to the pan; bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft. Add the zucchini and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until just warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Sprinkle with fresh basil and thyme, drizzle with a little olive oil if desired, and serve warm or chilled. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Freezer-Friendly Instructions:Let the dish cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. (Keep in mind that the zucchini won’t stay crisp after being frozen.) This is delicious served cold, or reheated in the microwave.