There’s nothing I enjoy better than fresh, wholesome vegetables. And, summertime is just the time to find some of the best as gardens start producing their bounty. For years I grew a vegetable and herb garden, and even now and then I try to grow a few herbs and will sneak in some peppers and tomatoes every once in a while.
Today’s recipe is perfect for the veggie lover and good food lover. I was inspired to research Ratatouille when I saw a recipe for Ratatouille Stew. I decided I wanted to develop it just a little further to our tastes and maybe make it a little more classic, yet still easy peasy.
Ratatouille is a classic French Provincial dish – Provence is in the the southeastern area of France. Cuisine from the Provence of France is usually considered earthy, hearty, rugged, flavorful and influenced by the landscape from the Mediterranean to the mountains. It’s not the dainty puff pastries or heavy cream dishes of the North.
And, Ratatouille is a perfect example. Traditional Ratatouille is thought to have originated in Nice, on the southern coast of France. There are very similar dishes in Spain, Greece, Italy and Turkey. In traditional Ratatouille, each vegetable is sauteed and then layered into a baking dish and baked.
I’m going to make it easier for you and the reason I call it endless – this makes a lot. Tall & Handsome and I had the pleasure of eating this for supper for several evenings and it seems like each meal it was tastier than the night before. Of course, there’s just the two of us, so if your family is larger it might not last as long, but it will be just as good. This version is more like a summer stew. You can serve it as a side dish, or as the main course with your favorite bread. We have a favorite 8 grain bread we like to put under the broiler with a little Parmesan cheese or Provolone. You may need a bike helmet because your tongue is going to want to slap the back of you head it’s so good!
Easy Endless Ratatouille
4 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 sweet onions, chopped
1 tablespoon minced garlic
2 large potatoes, peeled and diced
1 small or 1/2 large eggplant, chopped (I chopped around the middle and left out the seeded part)
1 each red, yellow and orange bell pepper, seeded and the pith (the white veins) removed and then cut into thin strips
1 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 cup low sodium chicken broth
4 large zucchini, quartered and diced
4 large yellow summer squash, quartered and diced
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped (I will quarter a tomato, then take a spoon and scoop out the seeds, then chop it. This is beneficial for people with medical issues that can’t eat tomato seeds.)
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
salt and pepper to taste
5 – 10 fresh basil leaves, that have been cut chiffonade
- Prepare all your vegetable and chopping before you begin your cooking.
- In a large stock pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat until it is hot. Add the chopped onions, minced garlic, diced potatoes, chopped eggplant and strips of bell peppers. Season with salt and pepper and saute for about 12 minutes until vegetables begin to turn tender. Stir to make sure vegetables don’t burn. You may have to reduce heat slightly.
- Stir in the can of crushed tomatoes and low sodium chicken broth. Bring to a boil.
- Reduce heat to medium low. Add the zucchini, yellow squash, chopped tomato and crushed red pepper flakes.
- Stir in fresh basil, cover and cook for about 15 minutes or until squash is tender. Stir occasionally.
- Adjust seasonings and serve hot.
- Garnish with Parmesan cheese and serve with your favorite bread.
© 2016 Beverly Hicks Burch All Rights Reserved.