What do you think of when I say “ratatouille”? Do you think of food or cute little animated rats? Rats? Yeah, me too. I had no idea what ratatouille was before I saw the 2007 animated blockbuster movie, but I remember walking out thinking “I need to make Ratatouille.” Now, for some reason I thought ratatouille was a meat (rat?) based soup, but thanks to Wikipedia, I now see that it’s actually stewed vegetables. Uh, yeah, right up my alley! And it sounds so sophisticated and romantic! The full name is ratatouille niçoise, because it was founded in Nice, France. Ooh la la!! Très chic!! Hmm, that’s all I remember from my three years of French? Oh wait… Je m’appelle Kim! YES!!! Of shall I say OUI!!

So, I found out that there are different ways to make ratatouille. Some recipes make it more like a casserole and others make it more like a soup. I found this recipe and since I had all the ingredients, I went with it! I hope it’s très bon or I’ll be très triste. I continue to amaze myself with the myriad of useless information floating around my brain.

6 servings, scant 1 cup each Active Time: 30 minutes Total Time: 1 1/2 hours

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 large head garlic
  • 12 ripe plum tomatoes, cored, halved and seeded
  • 1 eggplant, (1-1 1/4 pounds), cut lengthwise into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 2 small zucchini, cut in half lengthwise
  • 2 small summer squash, cut in half lengthwise
  • 1 Spanish onion, cut into 1/2-inch-thick slices
  • 1 large red bell pepper, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
  • 1 large yellow bell pepper, cut in half lengthwise and seeded
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

PREPARATION

  1. Set oven racks at the two lowest levels; preheat to 450°F. Peel away as much of the papery skin from garlic as possible and wrap the head loosely in foil. Roast until the garlic is very soft, about 30 minutes. Let cool slightly. Yummy!!! 
  2. Meanwhile, lightly coat 2 baking sheets with cooking spray. Arrange tomatoes, eggplant slices, zucchini, squash, onion and red and yellow bell peppers on the prepared baking sheets. Roast, turning once, until just tender and browned, about 20 minutes. Let cool slightly. Reduce oven temperature to 350°. So, I don’t know if I cut too many veggies or if my pans are too small, but I used every pan in my kitchen for this step. 
  3. Separate the garlic cloves and squeeze the soft pulp into a large heavy saucepan or Dutch oven. Slip skins from the tomatoes and peppers. Roughly chop the roasted vegetables and add to the pan. Stir in basil, oil, thyme, oregano, bay leaves, salt and pepper. Cover and bake, stirring occasionally, until heated through and thickened, about 30 minutes. Remove bay leaves. Taste and adjust seasonings, and serve hot or at room temperature.
I topped mine with some crumbled feta cheese and ooh la la, it was très bon!!!! Now, I must confess, that I am not a big eggplant fan, but I didn’t mind it in this recipe! And… it made so much that I froze the leftovers for a rainy or really busy/lazy day!! 

NUTRITION

Per serving: 163 calories; 6 g fat ( 1 g sat , 4 g mono ); 0 mg cholesterol; 27 g carbohydrates; 0 g added sugars; 6 g protein; 9 g fiber; 219 mg sodium; 1286 mg potassium.

Nutrition Bonus: Vitamin C (250% daily value), Vitamin A (74% dv), Potassium (37% dv), Folate (27% dv), Magnesium (17% dv).

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