Ratatouille (pop-in-the-oven method)

October 1, 2009 § 1 Comment

ratatouille1

When I think ratatouille, I conjure images of a cool, fall evening, hovering over the stove cooking three batches of different vegetables, all to their perfect done-ness, before combining them all together with discernible gusto in a savory tomato sauce.  I love to cook and I equally enjoy long and short meal preps.  But for all you east-north-not-southwest-dwellers out there, savoring hot oatmeal and donning cozy sweaters, let me just tell you that in Arizona, we’re still simmering.  Yesterday it hit 100.  Fall, anyone?

So, for dinner a few nights back, I decided to tweak my romantic image of stirring and standing and thrice-fold vegetable rotations.  Even though I wasn’t too keen on  spending an hour over a hot stove and sweating even more, I was intent on eating a good meal and using up the beautiful white eggplants nestled in the bottom of the fridge drawer.

And so, I present the lazy-girl, one-skillet + one-casserole dish meal.  I’m sure a lot of folks would just call this: tomatoes with eggplant, peppers and zucchini.  Whatever the case, I just ate my last bowl of it and I can attest that not only is it good, but boy does it ever improve with age!  My only regret is that I didn’t try this a la Molly Wizenberg’s method!  In her chapter about cooking solo in Paris (from “A Homemade Life“) she describes boiling gold potatoes, smushing them with the back of her fork and ladling ratatouille on top.  Doesn’t that sound divine?

I’m out of potatoes, but tonight I made do: with my final bowl of lazy-girl ratatouille, I toasted a hefty wedge of sourdough bread, smothered it in butter and used it to mop up the tomato sauce.

Ingredients:
1 24-oz can plum tomatoes, chopped*
1 16-oz can diced tomatoes*
5+ garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1-2 onions, chopped
1/2 cup parsley, chopped

2 zucchini
1 bell pepper
2 eggplant

sea salt, pepper to taste
1-2 tablespoons olive oil

Parmesan, for garnish (optional)*

* For those on the SCD diet, purchase tomatoes canned in Italy with only “tomatoes” on the ingredient list.
** If on a vegan diet, omit.

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(Bottom layer)

Methods:

1.  Heat oven to 375 degrees.  In a wide-brimmed skillet, saute an onion in olive oil, seasoned with sea salt and pepper until translucent and starting to brown (about ten minutes).  Add garlic and reduce heat.

2.  When fragrant, add tomatoes with liquid.  Bring to a boil.  Add parsley.  Stir.  Turn off the heat.

3.  Using a sharp knife, thinly slice eggplant, zucchini and bell pepper (approximately 1/8″ thick).

4.  Pour tomato mixture into a large casserole pan.  Top with overlapping zuke/eggplant/bell pep’s.  To view a beautiful rendition of this meal, head on over to Smitten Kitchen.

5.  Cut a slice of parchment paper to cover the vegetables inside the casserole pan during baking (this will prevent burning).  Bake for 45-60 minutes until the vegetables are wilted and slightly crisp.  Remove parchment paper and let sit for 10 minutes before serving.  Garnish with favorite cheese.

Diet Notes: vegan (see asterisk), SCD-safe (see asterisk), gluten-free, nut-free

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