Got off work today and the sun was shining; nice enough to put on the shades and take off my hoodie! I ran to the store to pick up a little produce for the dinner and saw this delicious bread called toasted sunflower honey loaf (brand name La Brea). Very good quality. It was nice and crunchy on the outside and soft in the middle. Perfect! I headed home and got right in the kitchen. Tonight's menu included what Rachel Ray calls "Ratatouille Riggies." It's one of her 30 minute meals. But actually not at all, not even close. Haha. But it was worth the hour or so it took to make. I modified it here and there. Here goes:
Ratatouille Eggplant Marinara with Penne and Zucchini
salt and pepper
1 lb. whole wheat pasta (i used Penne)
2 small, firm zucchini, thinly sliced
flour for coating
3 garlic cloves, grated or chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
a few sprigs of rosemary, finely chopped
a few sprigs of thyme, finely chopped
1 C. vegetable stock
1 Large Red Bell Pepper, roasted (or buy it premade)
2 T. tomato paste
1-28 oz. can plum tomatoes, coarsely pureed
crushed red pepper (optional)
handful of fresh basil, chopped
handful of fresh parsley (optional)
parmesan cheese, grated
Personally I don't mind mind the work of roasting my own peppers. If you would like to roast them here's how:
Turn broiler on high. Cut pepper in half, removing stem, seeds, and membrane. Place on foil covered baking sheet.Broil until skins are black, approx 10-20 minutes. Remove from oven. Allow to sweat in a plastic bag. When cool, peel black skins off, voilà!
|Face down on sheet|
|Seal in plastic bag|
Preheat oven 450. Halve the eggplant. Score the flesh with shallow cuts. Lightly brush with olive oil,salt and pepper. Place on baking sheet face down and roast til tender, 15-18 mins. Set aside.
|Cool, and turn over|
Meanwhile, on a paper towel season the zucchini with salt and pepper. In a deep skillet/heavy saucepan on med-high heat a little olive oil, coating pan. Lightly coat zucchini with a flour. Working in batches, cook zucchini, turning until light golden on both sides, 2-3 mins per batch. Add 1 chopped garlic clove to last batch. drain on paper towel covered plate.
In the same pan, heat a little more oil and add the 2 garlic cloves, onion, rosemary, thyme, salt and pepper. Cook til tender, 5-6 mins.
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook pasta til al dente, drain. Meanwhile, Using a food processor, blend tomatoes until almost pureed, a little chunky. Pour back in can and rinse processor. Blend vegetable stock, roasted pepper, and tomato paste until smooth. Pour into onion mixture. Boil for 1 minute. Add tomatoes and bring back to boil. Reduce heat, simmer covered. Scoop out flesh of eggplant and process for 20 seconds. Add to sauce.
Toss pasta in bowl with sauce and top with basil, parsley, fried zucchini, and grated cheese if desired.
I served this dish with asparagus roasted with a little olive oil, red pepper flakes and topped it with lemon zest when it came out of the oven.
So, the results? Well my parents and I thought the ratatouille was very good. The sauce was way too much work, too many steps, But... I would have to say I would do it again because it was so much more flavorful than most sauces. Had a really good texture and is packed with vegetables. I tried to go light on the oil as much as I could. Let me know how you like it and if you can figure out an easier way to make it. That's all for now. I'm going to watch Road To Singapore while I take a bath and have a popsicle.