Tuesday, September 22, 2009


The Finished Product

I did an entirely different take on ratatouille yesterday. Suffice it to say it’s wonderful. 2/3 of it went into our basement “geezer freezer,” and the rest into the fridge to be served with braised pork loin and Israeli couscous tonight.

Given that ratatouille is basically a vegetable stew, I decided that allowed for a certain amount of license in choosing ingredients. We bought a box of slightly damaged Roma tomatoes at our favorite farmers market on Sunday…13 ½ pounds for $8! When I came out into the kitchen wondering what Peter was up to when he didn’t turn up in the sunroom for TV and newspapers first thing yesterday morning, it was to discover him up to his elbows in tomatoes, blanching, peeling, seeding.

I pitched in to help and in about an hour we had conquered them. He spent the rest of the morning making both a basic tomato sauce and a marinara – huge quantities of each. I co-opted a pound of the tomatoes for the ratatouille. The pattypans came from our garden, as did the thyme and oregano.

This recipe takes some time both for prep and cooking in stages. Be patient, it’s worth it.

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion, rough chopped
3 cloves garlic, peeled and smashed
2 large carrots, cut in 1/2” rounds
2 1 lb. eggplants, diced to ½”
½ cup (or more as needed) chicken stock
1 green bell pepper, ½” dice
4 palm-sized pattypan squash, ½” dice
2 Anaheim chiles, peeled and seeded and chopped
1 lb. Roma tomatoes, peeled and seeded and chopped
2 tbsp chopped fresh thyme
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
salt and pepper to taste
red pepper flakes to taste

Heat the olive oil in a large non-reactive pot.

Add onion, carrot, garlic and sauté over medium heat for 10 minutes.

Add eggplant and chicken stock and cook for another 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add tomatoes, stir, and bring to simmer.

Add chiles, pattypan and bell pepper.

Add thyme, oregano, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.

Bring to a simmer, stirring to mix thoroughly. Simmer 10 minutes and check for doneness of pattypan. You don’t want it flabby or squishy – rather a bit al dente.

Taste for seasonings and adjust as necessary.

The finished product, again:

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