When Life Gives You Eggplants....

....Make Ratatouille! Summer harvests are at their peak right now, and if you’re a gardner you are probably swimming in zucchini and eggplant. Maybe a friend or co-worker has gifted you a basket of these tasty veggies from their overflowing bounty, or perhaps you just want to want a way to enjoy all that pretty produce you see at the farmers’ market. No matter what the reason is, Ratatouille is the answer to the question, “What should we make with all of this stuff?” 

I had never had Ratatouille until I was 27 years old. I know, I know—kind of sad. Growing up, we didn’t have really adventurous meals, and I think I’ve already mentioned that I HATED vegetables. No wonder my Mom didn’t bother making this; although if she had made it, maybe I would have started liking veggies that much sooner?!?  Because- YUMMY! 

I think this dish is perfect any time of year, but especially NOW when everything is fresh and in season. It makes a great stand-alone Vegetarian dish (Vegan if you don’t use the Goat Cheese), it’s Paleo and Primal friendly, it pairs nicely with chicken, lamb, or pork, and even makes a tasty breakfast the next day, if you top it with a poached egg or two. 

While my version might not be entirely faithful to the original Provençal recipe, it’s pretty close and I love it. I hope you do too. 

Ratatouille 

Ingredients
2 TBSP EVOO
1 cup Tomato Puree or Strained Tomatoes (I like Pomi brand)
4 Cloves Garlic
1/2 med sweet yellow onion
1 TBSP Italian herb mix or 3 TBP Fresh Italian herbs
1 Medium Eggplant
1 Medium Zucchini
2 Medium Red Bell Peppers
1 Large Yellow Summer Squash 

** Fresh Goat Cheese(optional) 

Method
Heat Oven to 375 F (convection) or 400 F (non-convection)
Pour EVOO into a 2 Qt Round or Oval Ovenproof Casserole dish. Finely Chop the onion and garlic and add to the baking dish. Pour Tomato Puree into the dish and stir to combine with onion and garlic. Add in the herbs and stir again to distribute evenly.
Slice the Eggplant, Bell Peppers, Zucchini, and Yellow Squash crosswise into 1/4” thick rounds (discarding pepper seeds).
Stand the vegetable rounds in the dish, in a spiral pattern working from the outside toward the center, alternating them for visually pleasing colorful effect.. Once the dish is full, and fairly tightly packed, cover with a piece of oil parchment paper or foil. Place in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove the covering and continue baking for another 20-30 minutes. Dish is finished when the sauce is bubbling and the vegetables are just beginning to brown on the top. 

Remove from the oven and if desired top with dollops of **fresh Goat Cheese.