I'm on a semi-regular blogging schedule. Which actually means, a very irregular, take-breaks-for-the-summer, blog-when-I-feel-like-it kind of schedule. When I do, however, get my lazy self to actually photograph a dish and type it up, you can bet it has entered into the "winner" section of my recipe collection and I may or may not be posting it simply so I don't have to keep finding the tomato-splattered, marked up recipe card that I wrote the recipe on.
I found this ratatouille recipe this past winter when I was looking for veggie recipes to make for the kids. I made it on a whim because eggplant at the grocery store had been too beautiful to pass up and I can honestly say I was surprised how well it went over with my girls. The three year old loved helping me layer it all together and the then-ten-month old shoved it in her little mouth grinning the whole time. Then I took a bite myself and realized why they both loved it so much. The thin slices of vegetables get soft and sweeter during cooking, and combined with the garlicky tomato sauce surrounding them and the melted, salty Parmesan cheese on top, you have one tasty dish full of a variety of tastes and textures. I love that it is an easy way to get in a lot of vegetables and can be adapted to my family's vegetable tastes.
If you've never cooked much with eggplant this is a great recipe to start with because it doesn't require salting to ensure that it isn't bitter. The ratatouille tastes delicious served over brown rice, couscous or quinoa, and although I have yet to try it, I'm betting it would be awesome scooped onto a nice crusty piece of French bread, too. Another bonus? I take the leftovers and blend them up with some water or chicken broth to a consistency I like, season it with salt and pepper to taste, and use it as a killer terrific pasta sauce. See why it's a "winner" in my recipe book? Grab up some of the year's final fresh garden produce and make some ratatouille with it!
- 1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
- 1/2 cup chopped onion
- 2 Tablespoons minced garlic
- 1/4 cup olive oil, divided
- 3/4 cup water
- sat and pepper to taste
- 1 medium eggplant, thinly sliced
- 1 zucchini thinly sliced
- 1 yellow squash, thinly sliced
- 2 red bell peppers, cored and thinly sliced
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
- Heat oven to 375 degrees. In a 9x9 or similar sized baking dish, add the tomato paste, onions, garlic, 1 tablespoon olive oil, 1/4 teaspoon salt and the 3/4 cup water. Stir to combine.
- Alternate slices of eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red bell pepper over the tomato paste mixture and continue to arrange the slices starting at the outer edge of the dish and working toward the middle. Drizzle 3 tablespoons of olive oil over the top of the vegetables and sprinkle generously with kosher salt and ground pepper to taste. Sprinkle the thyme over the top, cover with foil and bake 40-45 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Top with Parmesan cheese, season to taste with salt and serve.
Prep Time: 15 mins.
Total time: 35 mins.
Recipe Source: adapted from allrecipes.com