Saturday, August 11, 2012

ratatouille in four steps!

i've been waiting months to share this recipe. as a compulsive consumer of tomatoes in the summer and a huge fan of one pot dinners, i've made my fair share of ratatouilles in the past few months. and this is, by far, one of the simplest, tastiest recipes i've come across. the ingredient list is minimal, but taking the time to cook the vegetables slowly in a dutch oven gives the dish ample time to absorb all the herbs and let the flavors build.

the original recipe comes from molly katzen's the new moosewood cookbook, which i used as inspiration but made some changes to. whatever herbs you chose is up for grabs, but i recommend fresh over dried. i also used canned tomatoes in this particular version to simplify the process even further, but you should definitely definitely definitely substitute in fresh tomatoes if you can get your hands on them (should still be possible!). i particularly love buying colorful heirloom tomatoes that can be cooked down into a bright yellow or orange sauce! if you're feeling adventurous, feel free to add in other spices at whim: i've recently starting throwing in a little ground cumin and curry at the end for kick.

“purple” ratatouille
adapted from molly katzen’s the new moosewood cookbook
** purple because of the purple garlic and purple basil :)

3 tbsp olive oil
2 spring onions, chopped (stems and all!)
5 small zucchini, cubed
1 large eggplant, cubed
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
½ cup chopped fresh purple basil
1 tbsp each: fresh oregano, thyme, parsley, and marjoram
1 ½ 14.5 oz can of stewed, chopped tomatoes
½ cup sundried tomatoes, reconstituted in warm water and chopped finely
2 tsp. salt
a few big grinds black pepper

1. heat the oil in a large skillet or dutch oven. add the onion, garlic, and bay leaf. sauté over medium heat until the onion is soft, about 5 minutes.

2. add eggplant, herbs, and salt, and stir. cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for about 15 minutes, until the eggplant is soft.

3. add the zucchini, sundried tomatoes, and canned tomatoes. mix well. grind in the pepper. cover and continue to cook on low heat until all the vegetables are tender (15-30 minutes or so). stir occasionally to make sure it is not sticking on the bottom. remove the bay leaf and add more salt or herbs to taste.

4. serve with polenta or couscous and a hunk of ciabatta for soaking up the juices!