Wednesday, August 17, 2011


Rata... what?  Ratatouille [rat-ə-too-ee] is a vegetable stew of Provence, typically consisting of eggplant, zucchini, onions, green peppers, tomatoes, and garlic, served hot or cold. Or it's a darling little rat in the popular animated Disney film.  This post is about the stew, not the rodent, although the movie is cute and I would recommend watching it sometime.  And it was the inspiration for trying this crazy sounding new dish.  If you are expecting a knock your socks off, best thing I ever had dish, you may be disappointed.  But if you are looking for a satisfying, flavorful way to use the bounty from your garden this summer, you should try this soon.

Adapted slightly from Andrea Chesman's The Roasted Vegetable

1 medium eggplant, cut into bite size cubes
2 medium zucchini, sliced
2 medium yellow summer squash, sliced
1 large onion, sliced
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 medium yellow bell pepper, diced 
8 cloves of garlic
6-8 T. garlic infused olive oil with Italian spices
salt and pepper
1 quart canned Italian tomatoes, with juice (or 1 28-oz. can from store)
1/4 c. chopped fresh basil leaves
1 T. capers, drained

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Lightly oil two large shallow roasting pans, or 2 cookie sheets.
2. In a large bowl, combine the eggplant, zucchini, summer squash, onion, bell peppers, and garlic.  Add the oil, and salt and pepper to taste.  Toss to coat, and then arrange in a single layer in the pans. 
3. Place the pans on the middle rack of the oven.  Roast for 30 to 45 minutes, until the vegetables are lightly browned and tender, occasionally stirring or shaking the pans and rotating them for even cooking. 
4. While the vegetables are roasting, cut the tomatoes into 1 inch pieces, and place them in a large stockpot along with their juices.  When the vegetables are done cooking, add them to to the pot, along with the fresh basil, and capers.  Taste and adjust the seasonings, adding salt and pepper as needed.
5. If possible, allow the ratatouille to stand for 1-2 hours to allow the flavors to blend. 
6. Serve at room temperature or reheat gently to serve warm.  Top with Parmesan cheese with a side of crusty bread for a delicious summer meal. 

1. Make sure when you are roasting the vegetables, you keep them in a single layer.  If you pile them up, they don't cook as quickly, and a lot of the moisture is trapped in the pan, making the vegetables too soft.
2. I use Wegman's basting oil for a lot of my vegetable roasting, and it works very well.  If you don't have any on hand, you can always use olive oil and a mixture of dried Italian seasonings. 


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