When one of our team members handed Sue-Ann a sack filled with eggplant, zucchini and tomatoes from his garden, she knew that Ratatouille was in her future.
This classic Provencal vegetable stew is the perfect distillation of late summer flavours and can be served so many ways. Eat it hot with torn chunks of baguette, swirl it into hot pasta, or serve it cold as a chunky dip. Any way you have it, it's a delicious solution to the abundance of fresh veg typical of August.
Ratatouille(from Once Upon a Chef)
1large (1.25 lb) eggplant, cut into 1/3-inch cubes
6 tablespoonsextra virgin olive oil, plus more for serving
2medium zucchini (about1 lb), cut into 1/3-inch cubes
1medium yellow onion, finely chopped
1red, orange or yellow bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch dice
5large cloves garlic, chopped
5large vine-ripened tomatoes (1.75 lb), cut into 1/3-inch cubes, with their juices
1 tablespoontomato paste
2 teaspoonsfresh chopped thyme, plus more for serving
1/4 teaspooncrushed red pepper flakes (optional)
3 tablespoonschopped fresh basil
Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add the eggplant and season with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until soft and starting to brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to a plate and set aside.
Add another tablespoon of oil to the pan (no need to clean it). Add the zucchini and cook, stirring frequently, until tender-crisp, 3 to 4 minutes. Season with 1/4 teaspoon salt and transfer to a plate; set aside.
Add two more tablespoons of oil to the pan and add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and continue cooking for about 3 minutes more. Do not brown. Add the tomatoes and their juices, tomato paste, thyme, sugar, crushed red pepper flakes (if using) and 3/4 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the tomatoes are broken down into a sauce, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the cooked eggplant to the pan; bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat to low, and simmer, uncovered, for about 10 minutes or until the eggplant is soft. Add the zucchini and cook for 1 to 2 minutes more, or until just warmed through. Taste and adjust seasoning, if necessary. Sprinkle with fresh basil and thyme, drizzle with a little olive oil if desired, and serve warm or chilled. Leftovers can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
Freezer-Friendly Instructions:Let the dish cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. (Keep in mind that the zucchini won't stay crisp after being frozen.) This is delicious served cold, or reheated in the microwave.
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