This easy end of summer dish can be the side attraction or served as the main course with pasta or bread. Since we are on the downward slope of bathing suit season, I opted to make it carb heavy with spaghetti noodles and buttered bread therefore making it a familiar fare with a fancy spin. It could also be worked into a breakfast casserole, topped with an egg, or omelet accessory; even chilled for lunch and tossed into a salad or utilized as a sandwich topper.
Ratatouille is ideal for this sultry season because it utilizes all your bountiful summer crops and requires little effort ergo you don’t have to sweat more than you have to. Tomatoes lay the foundation to pile all your great garden veggies–eggplant, zucchini, bell peppers, onions and garlic–and all the juices mix well together creating no overpowering flavor of one over the other. However, depending on the herb you choose, I went with the ever abundant basil, it can bring to taste one ingredient more than another. Have fun and experiment with it as this is a recipe that seems impossible to screw up and trust me, I have burned hard boiled eggs three times! You can’t mess this one up.
You can prepare each vegetable individually then layer them like a lasagna to bake. Ain’t nobody got time for that! Eye appealing staging does highlight this dish’s beautiful coloring but I chose the working gal route by throwing all this healthy fresh food into a crock pot overnight on low and having my more than satisfying slop ready with little effort.
According to Wikipedia, “the name for the dish does not occur in print until 1930, the word has been in use since the late 18th century to refer to a coarse stew. It is derived from “ratouiller and tatouiller, expressive forms of the French verb, touiller, meaning “to stir up”. But you don’t even have to stir it up. Simply chop up veggies and throw them in the crock pot with some herbs and call it a night!
I put a cute spin on the name because I also used yellow squash and okra and honestly, you could throw in a little of this or a little of that and it would be delicious. Cooking should be fun. As that has not always been the case for me, when I find a delightfully easy recipe, I want to cook enough to share and then feed the world. Bon Appetit!