Monday, August 27, 2012

Ratatouille Fresh from the Garden

It’s time for another installment of Summer Fest. This week is eggplant. Now I’m not a huge fan of eggplant but I do like vegetable stews, one in particular – Ratatouille, which contains mushrooms, zucchini and eggplant with tomatoes, onions, garlic and green peppers. The result is a flavorful, simple to make dish that is perfect for any night of the week.  Leftovers can be served over rice for a quick and healthy lunch.
As always there will be a list of other fantastic recipes using eggplant, so be sure to read all the way to the bottom so you don't miss any of them from this talented group of bloggers/cooks.

This ratatouille recipe comes from the Culinary Institute of America Cookbook I received when I took a class there last year.  I will have more recipes from this cookbook when I start my “cookbook of the month” review series.  The CIA cookbook has a great selection of recipes from different cuisines and uses techniques that range from simple to advanced, but more about this cookbook in another post.  Right now let’s get to the ratatouille!

This is a one pot meal which makes it perfect for a weekday or weekend meal. It's quick cooking so it helps to have all your ingredients ready to be added.  A recipe like this one is good for practice  knife skills, since there is a lot of chopping involved.  The fresh herbs added to this dish gives it a fresh flavor that compliments the fresh veggies.  Not one of the veggies are the star of the show, but if you like one vegetable more than another you can always add more of it.  This dish is a great use up for all those farmer’s market finds at the end of summer when there seems to be an abundance. 

To make ratatouille you’ll need
2 T olive oil
3 T minced garlic
2 cups chopped yellow onions
1 T tomato paste
¾ cup chicken broth
4 cups chopped eggplant
1 1/3 cups sliced zucchini (quartered lengthwise before slicing)
1 cup quartered mushrooms
1 cup diced green peppers
2 cups chopped tomatoes (peeled and seeded)
¼ cup chopped flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup chopped basil
Salt and pepper as needed

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and sauté until aromatic, about 1 minute.  Add the onions and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 minutes.
Add the tomato paste and cook over medium heat until it deepens in color and gives off a sweet aroma, about 1 minute.  Add the broth and stir to deglaze the pan, scraping up any browned bits from the pan bottom.
Add the eggplant, zucchini , mushrooms and green pepper and simmer until the vegetables are tender but not falling apart, 10 to 12 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and continue to simmer until the tomatoes are heated through, 2 to 3 minutes.  Add the parsley and basil.  Taste, season with salt and pepper then serve.

As promised here's the list of more eggplant recipes.
Feed Me Phoebe:   Grilled Eggplant Baba Ganoush
Jeanette's Healthy Living:   Asian Grilled Eggplant With Soy-Sesame Sauce
And Love It Too:  Slow-Cooker Paleo Eggplant Parmesan
Big Girls Small Kitchen:   Homemade Baba Ganoush
Made by Michelle:   Eggplant Zucchini Muffins
Cooking With Elise:    Stuffed Eggplant
Virtually Homemade:   Layered Ratatouille la Ratatouille
Napa Farmhouse 1885:   Roasted Eggplant and Peppers Dip
HGTV Gardens:   Garden-to-Table: Eggplant
Thursday Night Dinner:   Eggplant Flatbread
Healthy Eats:   Going Meatless With Eggplant
Devour:   Giada's Rigatoni With Eggplant Puree
Cooking With Books:   Sriracha and Honey Eggplant Rice
FN Dish:   Eggplant: Champion of the Meat-Free Meal

Who knew eggplant was so versatile? Have a favorite eggplant recipe? I'd love to hear it. Be sure to leave it in the comments below!


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