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ratatouille

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Summer Ratatouille

Summer Ratatouille // Karista's Kitchen

 

I posted this decadent Summer Ratatouille photo on my Instagram page last week. I also thought I had posted the recipe here.

Maybe I had thought about posting it but I never followed through. I usually have excellent follow through but this delicious recipe definitely slipped through the cracks. I can only blame my busy schedule and although I have the best of intentions, sometimes I miss a few things. My apologies if you searched for this recipe and couldn’t find it!

This photo got a lot of love on my Instagram page and for good reason. It’s a beautiful dish, easy to prepare and completely delicious. I made this Summer Ratatouille at least 20 times last summer.

Because I was late getting my seeds started last summer, I went to my local farm and found loads of beautiful new starts. I wanted to plant a lot of cucumbers so I could use them in salads, do a bit of canning and then make some pickles. So I purchased 6 cucumber plants and 1 zucchini plant. That should be enough. Because zucchini plants can quadruple in size and produce a mountain of zucchini, I only bought one plant. Or so I thought.

Zucchini starts look almost identical to cucumber starts. Apparently, someone also thought the same and put all the zucchini starts with the cucumbers. I ended up with 5 zucchini and 2 cucumber starts. So by the end of summer I had way more zucchini than I could use and started giving them out to the neighbors and friends, freezing zucchini noodles and shredded zucchini, I canned a few and the rest went into various zucchini recipes like this Summer Ratatouille.

I certainly didn’t mind making this ratatouille. It’s truly one of my favorite ways to enjoy summer squash, zucchini, tomatoes and eggplant. The combination of flavors combined with aromatics and fresh herbs makes this dish light and lush all at the same time. 

It makes a lovely presentation and pairs beautifully with grilled meats, fish and poultry or doubles as a delicious vegetarian entrée. I could eat this alone with a glass of white wine and be completely happy. 🙂

Cheers to a delicious summer!

Loads of Love,

Karista

Summer Ratatouille

Serving Size: 6-8

Summer Ratatouille

This lovely vegetable dish is beautifully flavored with herbs and aromatics and looks impressive when placed on the dining table.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small red onion, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 ½ cups tomato sauce
  • ¼ cup red wine
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 1-2 zucchini, sliced thin, but not paper thin
  • 1 yellow squash, sliced thin
  • 4 Roma tomatoes, sliced
  • 1 Japanese eggplant, sliced
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan
  • ½ cup crème fraiche for garnish
  • 9 or 10 - inch baking dish, either round, oval, square or rectangular

Instructions

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil. When the oil is hot, but not smoking, add the onion and sauté until soft and wilted. Then add the garlic and sauté for one minute longer. Take the pan off the heat and stir in the tomato sauce, wine, chives, parsley and smoked paprika.
  • Pour the tomato mixture into the bottom of the baking dish. Beginning at one side of the baking dish, alternate slices of zucchini, yellow squash, roma tomato and eggplant until the baking dish is filled. I usually get about 3-4 rows of vegetables in my baking dish.
  • Drizzle the vegetables with the 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and then the grated parmesan.
  • Cover loosely with foil and place the baking dish in the oven. Bake for 30 minutes and then remove the foil and bake for another 15 minutes. If you’d like the top a little toasted, I let the ratatouille sit under the broiler for a few minutes before I take it out of the oven.
  • Remove the baking dish from the oven and let it cool for about 5-10 minutes. Serve warm with dollops of crème fraiche and extra grated parmesan.
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    Kid Friendly Sassy Side dishes vegetarian

    Roasted Ratatouille with Fresh Herbs served over Toasted Baguette Slices

    It was a busy first day of the work week and once again I arrived home late with all my grocery bags in hand, only to realize it was 5pm.  Great.  I knew I had something in mind for dinner but I couldn’t remember what it was.

    I checked my frig and thanked myself for thinking ahead (by one day!) and purchasing a beautiful piece of Alaskan Halibut the day before.  I know what you’re thinking.  It’s what I was thinking.  What am I going to do with that beautiful piece of Halibut?  Ha!  The million dollar question, right?  

    Well, I’m feeling oh so very smug right about now.  No, actually I feel a little bit brilliant.  Because not only did I use my beautiful piece of halibut, I also used my sad-looking eggplant (that didn’t get used for eggplant parmesan), 4 bright green organic zucchini that have been waiting to be used in my whole grain zucchini muffins (that obviously is not going to happen now),  and one brilliant shade of yellow pepper that I bought because frankly, it was so beautiful.  Add in my Walla Walla sweet onion, organic garlic, fresh rosemary and sage, 5 or 6 juicy red tomatoes and I had a sweet and distinctly rich ratatouille to serve with my halibut. 

    My secret surprise?  A toasted garlicky baguette slice under the flavorful ratatouille!  Ahhh… life is good. (for tonight anyway 🙂 )

    Roasted Ratatouille with Fresh Herbs

    This little dish does have quite a few “steps”, however, if you prep all your veggies first and then follow the steps the dish will come together beautifully.  Once you’ve prepared this dish a few times (hopefully you’ll like it that much!) it will become easier to pull all the steps together more quickly.  This is such a great way to use all that spring, summer and fall produce. Feel free to substitute with different types of squash, but always add the eggplant… it gives this dish its signature sweet flavor. 

    Ingredients

    1 large eggplant, thick sliced (or 2 smallish eggplant)

    4 small zucchini (or 2 very large zucchini), thick sliced

    1 sweet onion, halved and sliced

    4 cloves garlic, chopped

    1 yellow or orange bell pepper, roasted and diced

    4 large summer tomatoes, or use 5-6 canned organic whole tomatoes, chopped

    1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh rosemary

    1/2 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage (or more if you like sage)

    2 tablespoons butter

    Olive oil

    salt and pepper

    1 baguette, sliced (either multi grain or French)

    Directions

    Pre-heat the oven to 400F.  I use my convection oven option when roasting veggies.  If you don’t have convection oven options, roast the veggies at 425F.  Layer the sliced eggplant on a cooling rack or platter and sprinkle liberally with salt.  Let them sit for about 15 minutes or so to eliminate excess liquid. 

    While the eggplant are resting, place the sliced zucchini on a parchment lined cookie sheet and drizzle with a little oil, salt and pepper.  Roast the zucchini until they look toasty but not too soft, about 8-10 minutes. (I’ve tried roasting the eggplant and zucchini together to save time, however, the two veggies don’t cook evenly for the same amount of time)

    While the zucchini are in the oven, heat a large skillet on medium and add the butter and a drizzle of olive oil.  Once the butter is frothy, add the sliced onions and saute until nicely wilted and a little golden about 5-8 minutes.  Next add the garlic and saute for an additional minute or two. 

    When the zucchini are done, add them to the onions and garlic.  Fold in the diced roasted yellow pepper and the chopped tomatoes and any juices that accumulated.  Let this sit over low heat while you put the eggplant in the oven. 

    Next, rinse the eggplant and quarter the slices.  Season the eggplant once again with salt and little black pepper and drizzle with a bit of oil.  Place in the oven and roast for about 8-10 minutes or until a little toasty and soft to the touch. 

    When the eggplant is done, add them to the veggies in the skillet.  If using canned tomatoes I like to add about 1/4 cup of the tomato juice to the skillet. 

    Toss in the rosemary and sage and then taste for salt and pepper.  Turn off the heat and let the veggies sit so the flavors can meld together while you prepare the baguette slices.

    Place the baguette slices on a parchment lined cookie sheet and brush with a little olive oil.  Toast in the 400F oven until lightly golden brown.  When they are done remove them from the oven.  Slice a clove of garlic in half and rub the garlic on each of the baguette slices.  The bread will be hot so be careful.

    To serve, place a baguette slice in the bottom of a bowl or on a plate and top with the ratatouille.  Serve with grilled fish, chicken, pork or beef or all by itself as a hearty lunch or light dinner.