With the Mediterranean Diet so well received today , not only in terms of positive research results for health but also for great taste, ratatouille is right up there on the menu. It’s a wonderful side dish or it can be the foundation for other great dishes. Enjoy!
Two medium eggplants
3 large or 4/5 medium tomatoes
2 medium purple onions
6 garlic cloves
2 large bell peppers: green, red, or orange
3 large zucchini
2 large summer squash
One small container of organic mushrooms
One small can of organic tomato paste
3 cubes of vegetable or chicken broth dissolved in 3 cups water
1/8th tsp each of parsley, oregano, thyme, basil, tarragon, garlic powder
Sea salt and fresh ground pepper to taste
Freshly grated parmesan/romano cheese
Heat a heavy skillet with a small amount of virgin, cold pressed olive oil. Add finely chopped onions, mushrooms, garlic cloves for about 10 minutes until onions are clear and mushrooms shrunk. Set aside.
In the same skillet, put in the eggplant, chopped into small pieces, about quarter size. Saute until browned and the sponginess is gone, about 20 minutes or so.
In a large pot, add the onion/mushroom mix, the eggplants and the uncooked remaining vegetables chopped into bite size pieces. Add the chicken broth dissolved in water along with the tomato paste, herbs and salt and pepper.
Simmer for at least a couple hours; the longer the cooking time at low heat, the better the results. Some recipes call for each vegetable to be sautéed separately in hot oil before combining into one pot. The problem with that approach is that too much oil is used in the process and the final product is much too oily. Go light on the oil, although with eggplant, you just have to adjust the amount due to its absorption.
The taste is amazing and it is a wonderful side dish and also could be the basis for a moussaka if that’s where you’re headed. Bon Appetit!