Lest you think that all we eat around here is sweet carb-laden snack food, here's proof that we do eat our vegetables every once in awhile.
This ratatouille recipe was one of the first things I made from the Silver Palate Cookbook, which in turn was the first serious cookbook I used. Something about the picture of a bowl laden with stewed vegetables and a hunk of bread called to us - or, more likely, to Cary, who then convinced me that I should make it.
And I'm glad he did.
This is the dish that taught me to love roasted eggplant, and that showed me how well freshly-baked bread pairs with anything stewed or containing tomatoes (well, or anything, really).
I've made this so often that the page in the cookbook is actually no longer attached to the binding. It's ok - I pretty much have it memorized anyway.
Take it from me - the girl who used to think vegetables were terrifying - this dish is a winner.
Especially with homemade honey whole wheat bread - more on that soon!
From The Silver Palate Cookbook
- 2 cups best-quality olive oil
- 4 small eggplants (about 4 pounds in all), cut into 1.5-inch cubes
- 2 tsp salt
- 1.5 pounds white onions, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 7 medium-size zucchini, washed, trimmed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into 2-inch strips
- 2 medium-size red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into .5-inch strips
- 2 medium-size green bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into .5-inch strips
- 2 Tbsp minced garlic
- 3 cans (16 oz each) Italian plum tomatoes, drained (I don't drain them - it just makes the ratatouille saucier)
- 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste
- .25 cup chopped fresh Italian (flat-leaf) parsley
- .25 cup chopped fresh dill
- 2 Tbsp dried basil
- 2 Tbsp dried oregano
- Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2. Line a large roasting pan with aluminum foil and pour in 1 cup of the olive oil. Add the eggplant, sprinkle it with the salt, and toss well. Cover the pan tightly with foil and bake until the eggplant is done but not mushy, 35 mins. Uncover and set aside.
3. In a large skillet or 2 smaller skillets, heat the remaining oil. Saute the onions, zucchini, red and green peppers, and garlic over medium heat until wilted and lightly colored, about 20 mins. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste, parsley, dill, basil, oregano, and black pepper. Simmer for 10 mins, stirring occasionally.
4. Add the eggplant mixture and simmer for another 10 mins. Taste and correct the seasoning. Serve hot or at room temperature.