With the cooler weather last week I was craving a warm comforting dish. I had an eggplant and zucchini sitting on my table so I immediately thought of Ratatouille.
I have to admit until a few years ago I never made Ratatouille or even tasted it. Then one day I overheard some ladies discussing Ratatouille and it's ingredients at the farmer's market. Seemed easy enough and a great way to use eggplant and zucchini. So, veggies in tow I went home to research Ratatouille recipes. Traditional Ratatouille is a French dish made with fresh eggplant, zucchini, onions, tomatoes, and herbs cooked in lots of olive oil.
I like to simplify things when possible and save time in the kitchen. So my first try was in the pressure cooker. In about 20 minutes total I had a savory dish with little effort. It became a weekly family favorite. I developed this similar recipe for the stovetop. This oil free recipe takes a little more time but it is definitely worth effort. The stovetop recipe is so flavorful and fresh tasting that it won over the pressure cooker recipe with my family. Give it a try today and make extra and freeze for the winter.
* 1 large onion, diced, about 1 cup
* 1 large green pepper, diced, optional
* 1 large eggplant, diced, about 6 cups
* 1 large zucchini, diced, about 6 cups
* 1 tablespoon Herbs de Provence
* Pinch of red pepper flakes
* 2 cloves garlic, crushed
* 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
* 2-3 bay leaves
* 1 tablespoon Balsamic vinegar
* 2 cans no salt added diced tomatoes with garlic, oregano, and basil
Or 4 cups diced fresh tomatoes and add fresh garlic, basil, and dried oregano to taste.
* 1 cup fresh basil, chopped
* Water for sautéing
-Heat large cast iron Dutch oven for three minutes or large sauce pan.
-Add 1 tablespoon water and the onion. Sauté onion about 3-5 minutes until browned adding water 1 tablespoon at a time to keep from sticking.
-Add pepper if using and sauté few more minutes.
-Add zucchini, eggplant, salt, red pepper flakes, garlic, and herbs and cook about 5 more minutes, stirring frequently until browned.
-Stir in tomatoes, vinegar, 1/2 the basil, bay leaves, cover and simmer 15 minutes.
Let sit at least 15 minutes before serving to let flavors mingle. Remove bay leaves and serve warm over mashed potatoes and top with fresh basil.