Recipe courtesy of Michele Urvater

Ratatouille, Second Time Around

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  • Level: Easy
  • Total: 45 min
  • Prep: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 servings
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Ingredients

Half of Protean Ratatouille, recipe follows

Lemon zest and juice to taste

Salt and crushed red pepper

Washed lettuce leaves, torn into bitesized pieces

Cans of tuna fish or strips of smoked chicken breast

Slivered pitted cured black olives

Basil chiffonade

Protean Ratatouille:

2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

4 red bell peppers, cored, seeded and cut into fine julienne

2 onions, finely sliced

(3 medium size) 2 pounds of egg plant, scrubbed clean

4 cloves garlic, finely sliced

28 ounces can plum tomatoes, drained and chopped (or 8 vine ripened tomatoes, peeled and seeded and chopped)

1 teaspoon dried thyme or sprigs of fresh thyme

2 medium zucchini (1 pound), scrubbed clean

2 medium yellow squash (1 pound), scrubbed clean

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Directions

  1. Bring the ratatouille out of the fridge to bring back to room temperature. Perk up and change the flavor with lemon zest and lemon juice, salt and pepper. On each dinner plate make a wreath of washed, torn lettuce leaves Make an inner wreath of ratatouille, leaving some room in center of plate for tuna or chicken. Garnish with black olives and basil chiffonade.

Protean Ratatouille:

  1. Heat olive oil in a large heavy enamellined casserole. Add peppers and onions and saute for a minute to get them cooking. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer very gently until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Don't let olive oil get too hot or you will change the flavor. While these are cooking, cut eggplant into 3/4inch chunks. When peppers and onions are tender, add the garlic, eggplant, tomatoes and thyme and simmer over low heat for 30 minutes.
  2. While this is cooking cut zucchini and yellow squash lengthwise into halves or quarters, depending on how thick they are. Remove seeds with a spoon, then cut into 3/4 inch lengths. After 30 minutes of stewing eggplant, add zucchini and squash to stew, cover and simmer, over very low heat until all the vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes ( you can simmer for another 30 to 40 minutes for more meltingly tender vegetables). Strain the stew through a sieve and return juices back to casserole. Reduce the juices over medium heat until they begin to sizzle in the olive oil. Return this to the stew, season well to taste with salt and pepper. Divide ratatouille into two portions to proceed.

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