Thursday, September 1, 2011


I haven't done too much cooking lately (but have done a lot of eating!) so I thought I'd make something relatively healthy that I could keep on hand, and freeze too, so I'd have veggies in easy and edible reach. 
And what better to make from the abundance of late summer vegetables than Ratatouille?  (Pronounced rat-tat-oo-eee, in case you're wondering).   This is a great dish that is tasty on its own as a vegetable stew with some good bread, or try it over pasta, rice or cous cous, inside an omelet - there are a ton of ways to enjoy it!  Try it.  Its good, really!  And good for you too. 

This is the classic ratatouille recipe, in my opinion - I definitely remember having The Silver Palate cookbook come out quite often throughout my childhood for various party foods.  I have my own copy now, score!  Anyway, I sort of adjusted it - you don't really need two whole cups of olive oil, sheesh, but feel free to adjust the seasoning to your liking!  Its a pretty forgiving recipe.  Enjoy. 

  • 2 c best quality olive oil (I did not use this much by far)
  • 4 small eggplants, bout 4 lbs each in total, cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes (I used about 3 lbs)
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 lbs white onions; peeled & coarsely chopped (I used 2 very large onions)
  • 7 medium sized zucchini; washed, trimmed, quartered lengthwise and cut into 2 inch strips (I used 6 small, plus 2 medium yellow squash instead)
  • 2 medium sized sweet red peppers; stemmed, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch strips (I don't like peppers - skipped this)
  • 2 medium sized green bell peppers; stemmed, seeded, cut into 1/2 inch strips (I don't like peppers, skipped this too)
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 3 cans (16 oz each) Italian peeled plum tomatoes, drained (save the juice, just in case)
  • 1 can (6 oz) tomato paste (I used the drained juice instead)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley (I didn't have this so I skipped it)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh dill (also didn't have this, so I skipped it)
  • 2 tbsp dried basil (I had fresh so I used about 1/2 cup chopped)
  • 2 tbsp dried oregano
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • And you know I tossed in some hot sauce, right?
You're going to need a BIG pot for all of this, in addition to a roasting pan (or a few smaller baking dishes), skillets, tin foil, plus various knives, measuring cups, cutting board, etc.  Just warning you.  I had to use two pans because the first was overflowing before the eggplant went in.   
 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

 2. Line a large roasting pan with foil and pour in 1 cup oil. (OK, I don't have a roasting pan, so I used one 13x9 baking pan, plus a couple of smaller ones to accommodate all the eggplant.  Also, you don't need 1 cup of oil.  Put a few tablespoons on the bottom, then toss in your eggplant and drizzle some more on top.) Add eggplant, sprinkle with salt and toss well. Cover pan tightly w/foil and bake for 35 min until eggplant is done but not mushy (Mine went longer - test it and see after 35 minutes). Uncover and set aside.

3.  While eggplant cooks, in a (very!) large skillet or 2 smaller skillets, heat remaining oil  (again, you don't need a full cup.  Use a few tablespoons to coat the pan, and add a little more if it starts to stick.) Saute onions, zucchini, peppers and garlic over medium heat until wilted and lightly colored, about 20 minutes.  Add tomatoes, paste (I used the drained tomato juice), and spices. Simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

 4.  Add eggplant and simmer another 10 minutes. Taste and correct seasoning. Serve hot or at room temperature.

12 portions.
This makes a TON!  I seriously used almost all of my Tupperware to pack it up.  Its great for a party or a large group, or you can freeze it and eat some later.  Yum!

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