Sunday, October 5, 2014


In honor of J's recent visit, I think I should start by saying that there is a blister on the inside of my dominant pointer finger. CHOPPING SQUASH. This blister is truly the gift that keeps on giving because it gets squished every time I pick up a fork. So... it gets squished pretty often.

There's proof that this recipe calls for quite a bit of chopping. It is a reminder that (1) I dislike chopping and (2) I REALLY DISLIKE chopping onion and (3) J is really good at chopping.

Unfortunately for J, this ratatouille was chopped, cooked, and down the hatch before he ever got here.

I chose to make this recipe in order to use up more of my CSA box veggies. Ratatouille is always good for that. It's a vegetable stew of sorts, generally containing tomatoes, eggplant, peppers and squash. I love it because it contains a TON of veggies and it is a pretty adaptable recipe. Use up whatever you have! Only have canned tomatoes? Go ahead! Who actually keeps a dried herbes de Provence blend, you ask? Toss in some extra thyme, oregano, and rosemary! What the hell is patty pan squash? Google it (or use a zucchini)! The addition of the patty pan squash was a new one for me, too, and it turned out wonderfully.

The measurements here are also pretty forgiving, so don't be afraid to use more or less than the suggested ingredients. Just BE SURE to adjust your seasonings. The first time I made a ratatouille recipe, it came out pretty bland. All of those veggies are glorious, of course. But they need salt (and other stuff) for this union to work.

Traditionally, ratatouille is served as a side dish, but I love to eat it as a full meal. Feel free to add a protein of your choice (white beans would be my recommendation, but something like ground beef or turkey would also do the trick).


Prep time: 15 min
Cook time: 40 minutes
Yield: 4 servings

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
¼ - ½ cup vegetable broth, divided
1 tsp dried herbes de Provence blend
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1 small eggplant, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 small patty pan squash, chopped (about 1 cup)
1-2 small bell peppers, any color, chopped (about 1 cup)
½ pint grape tomatoes, chopped (about 1 cup)
1 small yellow squash, chopped (about 1 cup)
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground pepper
1 tablespoon fresh Italian (flat leaf) parsley, finely chopped
1 tablespoon fresh basil, finely chopped
18 oz tube prepared polenta
Grated parmesan cheese, optional

1. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Sauté onions and garlic until translucent (about 4-5 minutes).
2. Add ¼ cup vegetable broth directly to the onion mixture to deglaze the pan.
3. Add dried herbs, fresh thyme, eggplant, patty pan squash, and bell pepper. Cook for 10 minutes.  
4. Add tomatoes, yellow squash, salt and pepper to the pan. . If mixture appears dry, add additional ¼ cup broth. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until squash and eggplant are tender. 
5. While vegetables are cooking, preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Slice polenta into ¼” rounds and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes, sprinkling with parmesan during the last 5 minutes of baking time, if desired.
6. Mix parsley and basil into ratatouille vegetable mixture. Taste for seasoning and adjust as needed.
7. Divide polenta rounds onto four plates and top each serving with ¼ of the ratatouille and a sprinkle of parmesan, if desired.

Calories 187, Total Fat 3.9 g, Cholesterol 1 mg, Sodium: 414 mg, Protein 4.1 g, Fiber 3.2 g

Seriously, I think that every time I make this dish, I like it better and better. Or perhaps I've become a better cook in the last five years. ;)

Finally, I encourage you all to take a moment some time today and just appreciate how it feels to NOT have a blister on your pointer finger. Just do it.

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“We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”
― Anaïs Nin