Ratatouille is the sangria of summertime sauces - it's a great way to use whatever you have kicking about. I've written before about my miracle sangria - I use this recipe whenever I have some fruit that needs to get used up. This year's gardening has been a little strange - it's been a cool summer, so everything has been thriving well, except my tomatoes, which need warmer nights to ripen. Plus, I've got some kind of terrible fungus, and an invasion of tomato horn worms, which also like green peppers, evidently. And who knew that the deer would eat serrano peppers - really? I thought they'd be too spicy for them, but I was wrong.
This year, I've got a lot of eggplant and basil. We don't really eat a lot of eggplant around here - of course, eggplant parmesan would go over well, as would anything that is fried. But I am not sure I want to go through the effort. I thought about ratatouille, which would be great to freeze for winter time (no safe way to can it because of the squash). I borrowed a trick from Cook's Country magazine, that suggests roasting the vegetables first to keep it from getting too watery. Feel free to adjust proportions of whatever you have too much of in your garden - for me, I didn't have any red peppers yet so I skipped it. Since tomatoes weren't doing so well for me this year, I used my favorite brand of local canned tomato products - Red Gold. they sent me a case of tomato products earlier this summer, and it came in handy for this recipe. Also, they are having a contest this summer for a Big Green Egg Smoker on their Facebook page....meander over there and "like" them to get a chance to win.
Slow Cooker Ratatouille
2 pounds eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
3 zucchini (about 8 oz each), quartered lengthwise and cut into 1 inch pieces
2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
2 onions, roughly chopped
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoon dried thyme
Mix all ingredients together, and spread out on 1 or 2 baking sheets. Heat the broiler, and broil each pan 10-15 minutes until slightly browned. Mix the vegetables with:
1 (28 ounce) can Red Gold diced tomatoes, drained
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2½ teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
and put in a slow cooker. Cook on low at least 4 hours - I have let it cook for 8 hours and it is still great.
Before serving, add:
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crusty Italian bread. or on pasta or chicken. Makes about 8 cups.
So, what are you making from your garden's bounty? Leave a comment in the comment section, along with your email address (either in the comment or send it to me via email at momskitchen at comast dot net), and I will include you in a drawing for a tasty Red Gold product pack. I will pick a winner on Labor Day, Sept. 2. You must include your email address to win!