Monday, September 9, 2013

Pasta alla Ratatouille

A quick disclosure - this is MY version of a ratatouille. It does not follow classic French cooking standards, but I think it tastes just as good. I had a surplus of great vegetables on hand from my crop share and this was one great way to use them up. This is great as a side dish, but you can also throw it over pasta or rice to serve it as a meal.

Recipe yields 8-10 servings

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 head of garlic
3 large zucchini
1 large eggplant
1 medium yellow onion
5 lbs. tomatoes
1/2 lb. green beans
1-2 tbsp salt (this is based on a taste test and preference)
1 tbsp ground black pepper
2 tbsp fresh basil
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 lbs whole wheat pasta

Start off by preparing your vegetables. You are going to want to mince the garlic, slice the onion and dice the zucchini and eggplant. If your green beans are extra long, you can cut them in half to make them more manageable when it comes time to eat.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot and add your garlic. Cook for about 2 minutes until fragrant and add in the onion, zucchini and eggplant. Cook on medium heat for about 10 minutes.

In the meantime, start to dice the tomatoes. You want to cut them into about 1/2" cubes. Add the tomatoes and all the juices to the pot and stir it all together. Using the back of your spoon, 'smoosh and squish' the tomatoes to extract more juices. Remember, this is a very rustic dish, so nothing has to be perfect. After all the tomatoes are added, bring the mixture to a boil. Add your salt, pepper and chopped basil and continue to boil. You can lower the heat to medium, but you still want to see some bubbles. Cook for about 15 minutes before adding the green beans.

Cooking time will vary depending on the sizes of the vegetables and how small/large you cut them. Continue to check the vegetables until they are tender. The zucchini is likely to take the longest to cook. Overall, my pot sat at a slow boil for about 15 minutes. Once your comfortable with the flavors and textures (remember, you can always add more salt and pepper depending on your tastes), shut off the heat and mix in the chopped parsley.

Now you can pour this delicious mixture over your pasta and serve alongside a crispy French baguette. Delicieux! Bon Appetit!


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