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Here is a quick reminder that the voting for this month’s Royal Foodie Joust challenge is underway. So please stop by the forum to place the vote for your favorite!

Now on to Ratatouille!

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Ratatouille is the perfect summer dish as it incorporates all of the season’s bountiful vegetables like eggplant, zucchini and bell peppers so it is a perfect way to close out the summer, which is quickly drawing to an end. For those with a nightshade allergy or sensitivity this is the worst thing you can eat, but for those of us fortunate enough not to have that issue, it is a welcomed treat and a solution to a surplus of summer vegetables.

Ratatouille, besides being the name of a wonderful movie, it is a traditional French Provencal comfort food – a dish of stewed vegetables. It can be served as it is with a nice crusty bread for scarpetta – the Italian word for “sopping up the juices” or wiping your plate clean with a piece of crusty bread – something I am a pro at! Clearly the Italians are smart to actually have one word to describe this phenomenon! Or you can serve your ratatouille as a filling for crepes, or over pasta for a wonderful change of pace. This recipe can be modified in one hundred different ways. We had some leftover juices from a Chicken Chianti I did (will be posting that recipe soon) and so I used this as a base to stew the vegetables in. I also added some sun dried tomatoes for an extra sweet and summery element. Bon Appetite!

INGREDIENTS:

2 medium eggplant, peeled and diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
2 large bell peppers, diced
2 yellow onions, peeled and diced
4 carrots, peeled and chopped
6 cloves of garlic chopped
1 cup sun dried tomatoes
¼ cup of olive oil for sautéing
1 cup of stock
3 sprigs of fresh basil

METHOD:

Place eggplant cubes in a large bowl of salted water. Let set for about 15 minutes. Drain water and squeeze water out of eggplant pieces, being careful so they retain their shape.

Heat a large saucepan or Dutch oven on medium-high heat and add olive oil. Sautee eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, onions and carrots until nice and caramelized (about 7-10 minutes), stirring occasionally. Throw in the garlic, stir and cook for about 3 minutes or until garlic begins to soften. Add broth and sun dried tomatoes, reduce heat to low, scrape the bottom of the pan and reduce liquid until vegetables are nice and stewed (about 15-20 minutes). Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve topped with fresh basil.

Serves 4 with leftovers – and you WANT leftovers as this dish tastes better and better the longer it sits.