Ratatouille

Oh, this is another summer savory dish, and represents summer to me.  And it is summer, so here is my favorite recipe for this delicous summer meal.  It has the wonderful aspect of using up many of the summer veggies that are prolific this time of year, and is light enough to eat on a hot summer night. All veggies are large chop, which is about 1″ square. If fresh herbs aren’t available, it’s ok to substitute dried. I usually make this dish from fresh tomatoes, so realize that the “juice” and “paste” below can be substituted for the real thing–fresh juice or paste.  You will find the paste does help with binding the dish together, however.

There is a wonderful Pixar movie also called “Ratatouille”, and as I’ve worked in a commercial kitchen, it made me laugh very hard.  It would be fun to eat this dish and watch this movie.  Just saying.

1 onion                                                                      2 medium peppers

1 large  zucchini                                                        1 large summer squash

1 eggplant (1 European or a few Ichiban)                 Tablespoon of chopped garlic

4 large tomatoes                                                       1 bay leaf

1 teaspoon each, fresh, basil, marjorum, oregano    dash of fresh rosemary

**1/2 cup of tomato juice& two tablespoons of tomato paste

2 teaspoons of salt (to taste)                                      Black pepper to taste

1/4 cup olive oil                                                          fresh chopped parley (lots of it:)

1/4 cup red wine (this is the secret ingredient!)

Heat olive oil. Cook garlic. Add bay leaf. Saute.  Add onion, eggplant, red wine, and juice from your chopped tomatoes or your tomato juice. Add herbs. Simmer for about 10 minutes while you taste the red wine (yes, Julia Child:). Add zucchini, peppers. Add all other ingredients. Mix well.

I like to add this on top of polenta (recipe to follow), but it can be served with rice, or dipped in an excellent bread.  Top with some fresh grated cheese.  Finish the red wine.

Polenta–(so easy) or buy your own in the fresh section of most stores.  Make a mush of 1 1/2 cups of yellow corn meal and 1 cup water. Boil 3 3/4th cups water with a teaspoon of salt.  Add the mush in spoonfuls to the boiling water.  Simmer until it looks like cream of wheat.  Add 1 cup of cheddar cheese.  (I’ve experimented with this, and used other types of cheese). Add 1/4 cup grated parmesan.  Serve immediately topped with your ratatouille.  Enjoy!! Happy summer veggies.

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