Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Gloria's Rustic Roasted Ratatouille

Here's my nontraditional take on Ratatouille, a classic summer vegetable dish that can be enjoyed hot, at room temperature, or chilled; as a vegetable side dish; tossed with pasta; eaten with crusty bread to sop up the flavorful liquid; as an omelet or quiche filling; as a pizza or focaccia topping; and many other ways. The traditional version is made on the stovetop with lots of olive oil; my version dramatically cuts back on fat by roasting the vegetables in much less oil. The roasting adds deep, rich layers of flavor so you won't miss the extra oil.

This is classic "throw cooking" so don't get hung up on the amounts listed below, which are merely the quantities I happened to have on hand. I included the weights for many of the vegetables, in case that helps. You could use all shallots or all onions for the combination I used, and use one or more of the following herbs in fresh or dried form (use a third or a quarter less if using dried): Basil, oregano, thyme, marjoram. This recipe makes a large batch, but don't worry because the leftovers can be refrigerated and enjoyed over several days. I used two large roasting pans that fit on the same rack in my oven. You can roast the vegetables in separate batches if necessary, and then mix together in a large bowl (they'll take up much less room after roasting).

30 peeled garlic cloves (or less if you prefer)
1 large green bell pepper (1/2 lb)
1 large red bell pepper (1/2 lb)
1 large zucchini (1 lb)
1 large eggplant (1 1/4 lb)
2 pints cherry and/or grape tomatoes
1 red onion (1/2 lb)
2 large peeled shallots (total 4 oz)
Olive oil, approx. 1/4 cup
Kosher salt & fresh ground pepper, to taste
1/4 cup fresh basil chiffonade
1 Tbs fresh chopped thyme

Preheat oven to 425°F. Chop the peppers into 1" pieces. Cut the zucchini in half lengthwise, then cut each half into half-moons approx. 1/2" to 3/4" thick. Trim the eggplant and cut in half lengthwise, then cut each long half again lengthwise in half or thirds depending on width. Cut each long strip into 1/2" to 3/4" thick chunks. Trim the onion, cut into quarters, then cut into 1/2" to 1/4" wide wedges. Cut the shallots lengthwise into 1/4" to 1/2" wide strips. Place all the cut vegetables plus the tomatoes and garlic cloves into a very large bowl (or two smaller ones). Season with salt & pepper, drizzle with a little olive oil and toss gently until all the vegetables are lightly coated with olive oil. Transfer the vegetables into one or two very large roasting pans. Place the pans on the middle oven rack and roast at 425°F for about 1 hour or until the vegetables are very tender but still holding their general shape (the tomatoes will be falling apart), gently stirring after 30 minutes have passed and checking/stirring after another 15 minutes. Depending on your oven and the total quantity of vegetables, it might take as little as 45 minutes to over an hour total cooking time. When the vegetables are done, remove the pan(s) from oven and carefully transfer the roasted vegetables into a large bowl. Gently fold in most of the herbs, reserving a little to add just before serving. Taste for balance and season with additional salt & pepper if desired. Serve hot, or allow to come to room temperature before serving.

Zestfully yours,
Carolina Sauce Company

PS: I'm using some of the leftover ratatouille to make a quiche, so be on the lookout for that recipe in the near future.

No comments:

Post a Comment