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Earth Eats: Real Food, Green Living

Out With The Old Veggies, In With The Ratatouille

Collect all your last-of-the-summer veggies and make this big vat of ratatouille.

It wouldn't be a ratatouille without a generous portion of chopped tomatoes.

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At this point in the season, you’re probably plucking the last few tomatoes and squash off your plants. Maybe there are a few small peppers still holding on. Dig to the bottom of your crisper and you might find a stray carrot or two.

All your late-summer veggies would love to hop into this pot of ratatouille.

I usually make my ratatouille on the stove, but when you’re working with a half-dozen very busy cooks in a professional kitchen, sometimes you have to get creative. So, we’re using the pizza oven. In previous iterations of this dish, I’ve even grilled the veggies and then combined them. Necessity is the mother of invention, after all!

Remember, recipes are guidelines, so adapt this to your own taste. Depending on my mood, I’ll add some capers or pitted black olives. You can also add some dried fruit to the mix. One-half cup raisins would give it a nice sweet punch. Don’t be afraid of flavor!

Orr-ganic Ratatouille

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1 large onion, cubed
  • 1 large eggplant, cubed
  • 2 zucchini or summer squash, cubed
  • 1 red bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cubed
  • 1 green bell pepper, cubed
  • 4 medium tomatoes, cubed
  • 5 scallions-cut into 1/2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup fresh herbs, whatever is freshest (i.e. thyme, oregano, rosemary) tied into a bouquet garni with butchers twine.
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 teaspoons orange zest
  • 1/2 bunch fresh Italian parsley, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped (if serving the ratatouille cold)
  • salt and pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. In a large sauté pan heat the oil and add the garlic and cook over medium high heat until it begins to brown. Add the onions and cook until they begin to soften. Add the eggplant and zucchini; cook stirring every few minutes until they are lightly browned. Then add the tomatoes, scallions, herbs and spices and stir to incorporate. Continue cooking over medium low heat until the moisture evaporates. Pour in the orange juice and cook until the vegetables are just tender.
  2. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Stir in the Italian parsley and basil (and mint if you like). Adjust seasonings to taste with salt and pepper.
https://indianapublicmedia.org/eartheats/orrganic-ratatouille/

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Chef Daniel Orr

Chef Daniel Orr is the owner of FARMbloomington and the author of several cookbooks. He draws from a lifelong curiosity about individual ingredients combined with extensive training in the art of finding food’s true essence and flavor. The result is simple, yet sophisticated; the best of American food tempered by classic European training.

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