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Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Bon Appetit Ratatouille

Dear Reader, I laugh about this today, but the only reason I went looking for a Ratatouille recipe was because I felt compelled to try the dish that melted the indignant heart of Food Critic Anton Ego from the animated feature film of the same name, Ratatouille. I thank my lucky stars that I found the following recipe from Whole Foods Market. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. I won't say that my two children enjoy ratatouille the vegetable dish as much as the movie, but when I spoon a hearty helping of this onto their plates they always want an encore.

Recipe tip: Although the Whole Foods' recipe is gluten free, if you have read any of my blogspot posts you will not be surprised to hear I have tweaked the recipe to suit  my taste and that of my family. I almost did not put green pepper into this dish, again I am thankful I did, it is subtle and delicious. If you compare the Whole Foods version and mine, you will see only a slight difference in the preparation of the vegetables.

I dedicate this post to my mom; much like Ego this dish reminds me of my mom and all the ways she tried to disguise vegetables so that I would eat them. Although I no longer try to hide them from myself, I still enjoy her techniques for slicing and dicing. Thank you mom for helping to create a love of healthy food.

Now on with the show...


1 eggplant, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (In the past I have omitted the eggplant and increased the amount of squash with much success)
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons herbes de Provence
1/4 teaspoon chile pepper flakes
Pepper to taste
1 green bell pepper, cored, seeded and finely chopped in the food processor
1 large yellow onion, finely chopped in the food processor
2 zucchini or summer squash, sliced into 1/2 inch rounds ( I like one of each for color)
1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes (I have blanched, peeled and roasted my own tomatoes from the garden, but jarred works great too)
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Preheat oven to 425°F. Toss eggplant with 1 teaspoon of the salt, and set aside in a paper-towel-lined bowl while preparing the other vegetables. (If omitting the eggplant, skip this step)

Combine remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, oil, garlic, herbes de Provence, chile flakes and pepper in a small bowl. Put the processed bell pepper and  onions into a large bowl. Toss in the zucchini or squash and pour the oil mixture over them. Pat eggplant dry with another paper towel and toss with vegetables, coating everything thoroughly. Spread vegetables in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast, stirring once or twice, until golden and very soft, 30 to 35 minutes.

Put tomatoes into a large bowl and break them up using your hands or a spoon. Add roasted vegetables and vinegar and stir well. Cool to room temperature before serving, or cover and refrigerate overnight. The Whole Foods recipe recommends cooling the dish to room temperature; I have eaten this dish warm, room temperature and cold, and have loved them all. Bon appetit!

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