If your vegetable garden is overflowing with zucchini, tomatoes, and peppers, you can make a wonderful Summer Ratatouille! There are several ways to make ratatouille. Mine is more like a veggie “stew” with zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, garlic, and herbs! The traditional version calls for eggplant. You can certainly add eggplant, but I didn’t have any on hand!
The best version of this dish that I ever ate was in Tampa, Florida. The restaurant was an old-style Italian restaurant with very high-end Italian food. Their slightly smoky ratatouille was served as a side dish. The waiter seemed to be surprised at how much I liked it. Never did find out their secret to the smokiness, although I suspect they grilled or roasted the vegetables in the dish before sauteing them together.
This is a simple recipe that just requires a little time to cook to perfection. Don’t overcook the vegetables or they will be a mushy mess.
Use that overabundance of zucchini that you’re harvesting in your garden. Or find a nice specimen at your local farmers’ market or grocery store produce section. Slice the zucchini into about 1/4 inch thick rounds.
Find some tasty ripe tomatoes. Core the tomatoes, and then dice them into cubes.
Find a nice bell pepper. Pick whatever color you like, or use a mixture of colors. Remove the core and seeds from the pepper, and slice it thinly.
Start with some olive oil and butter. Melt them together in a pan. Then peel and slice a small yellow onion and saute in the oil and butter until the onion is translucent. Add two minced garlic cloves and the thinly sliced bell pepper. Cook until the pepper has softened slightly. Add the diced fresh tomatoes and thinly sliced zucchini. Cook until the zucchini has slightly softened. Then add some dried basil and oregano, some dry white wine, and some vegetable stock. Let that simmer slowly for about 15 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and serve!
You can certainly add eggplant, as I’d mentioned, and some sliced mushrooms. Yellow squash works well in this dish. You can even use cucumber slices!
Super simple and flavorful, it’s a superb vegetable side dish to a serving of pasta or as a bed for seared fish or grilled chicken!
From the kitchen of A Food Lover’s Delight….
Summer Ratatouille with Zucchini Tomatoes Peppers
1 T olive oil
1 T butter
1 small yellow onion, cut in half lengthwise, and then thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 red or green bell pepper, sliced into 1/4 inch thin matchsticks (or use half green and half red, or a different combination of pepper colors)
2 tomatoes, diced
1 zucchini, cut into 1/4 inch thin rounds
2 t dried basil
2 t dried oregano
1/2 c dry white wine
1/2 c vegetable stock
salt and pepper, to taste
1. Warm the olive oil, and melt the butter with it, over medium-low heat in a skillet.
2. Add the onion and saute until translucent.
3. Add the garlic and cook a few minutes.
4. Add the bell pepper and cook until the pepper has softened slightly.
5. Add the tomatoes and zucchini and cook until the zucchini has softened.
6. Add the basil, oregano, white wine, and vegetable stock. Simmer for about 10 minutes over medium-low heat until most of the liquid has evaporated yet the vegetables are not mushy.
7. Season with salt and pepper.
Serves 4 as a side dish. Offer with a plate of The Best Spaghetti with Meat Sauce and a Caesar Salad. Another option is to serve alongside my Creamy Basil Arugula Pesto Tortellini.
Variations: Use whatever vegetables you have in your garden. Eggplant, mushrooms, and yellow squash are nice additions to this dish. Substitute thyme, parsley, tarragon or your favorite herbs for the basil and oregano. You can lighten this dish by omitting the oil and butter and using a non-stick skillet.
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