Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Ratatouille (and I don't mean the cartoon)

Yes, I do eat vegetables! But I will be the first to admit that I am baaaad at getting my veggies. I would much rather have a piece of dark Valrhona chocolate than a carrot, any day. But I know I must...so what tastier way than a ratatouille?

I learned how to make this vegetable stew-ish creation when living with a family in France. We ate a whole lot of ratatouille in the fall and winter months. It's warm, it has tons of good veggies in it, and it really tastes good. You could put it over couscous or pasta, or just eat it as-is with a nice chunk of crusty bread. I served mine with salmon the other day. Deee lissh!

Ratatouille (Rat-a-too-eee!)
1/4 cup olive oil
1 large onion coursely chopped
2 Tb minced garlic
1 tsp. fresh thyme chopped
1/2 tsp. fresh rosemary copped
8 fresh basil leaves chopped
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1/2 pound zucchini, cut into 1 inch dice (usually one zucchini = 1/2 pound)
1/2 pound eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch dice
1 pound tomatoes peeled, seeded and diced (or 1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes without juice)
Salt and pepper to taste

Using some of your 1/4 cup olive oil, film a 10 inch saute pan and place over medium heat. Cook the onion until translucent, add the garlic, thyme, rosemary and basil and stir 2-3 more minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and place it in a large mixing bowl.

Heat the saute pan again, and film with a bit more olive oil. Satue the red and green peppers over high heat until wilted but crisp. Remove and add the peppers to the onion.

Heat the saute pan again and add a bit more oil. Saute the eggplant over medium-high heat, about 1-2 minutes. Add to the other vegetables.

Pour the tomatoes on top of the vegetable mixture and stir with a wooden spoon. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Place the vegetable mixture in a large pot and simmer for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally (you don't want the vegetables to burn or stick to the bottom of the pan).

When finished, remove from the heat. You can serve immediately, or refrigerate it and rewarm it just before serving. The ratatouille usually tastes best on the second day.

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