Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Summer Vegetable Ratatouille

Occasionally I go a little overboard at the grocery store and especially at the farmers' market. There are just so many things that look delicious that I want to use when cooking. This desire to cook everything in sight sometimes results in way too many things in my refrigerator even though I know I only have a couple of nights of cooking at home before they'll go bad. Although I cook most nights during the week, there are those occasions when we go out or know that we will be doing something else for dinner. And weekends usually find us at Lake Hyco, which means either Mexican food in Roxboro or picking something up on the way home. This ratatouille was a direct result of having a lot of produce that I needed to cook in one night. Fortunately the flavors came together to create a really great vegetable "stew." Served over couscous or rice and topped with some feta cheese, this would make for a great vegetarian meal on its own. Or it could be served as a hearty side dish with a simple baked chicken or fish. If you find yourself with lots of vegetables that might end up going bad, try combining them instead of giving in and throwing them out. This dish can easily be tweaked to incorporate different vegetables, just add quicker cooking vegetables after the harder vegetables that need more time.

Summer Vegetable Ratatouille
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 3-4 garlic cloves, crushed and peeled
  • 1 small fennel bulb, trimmed, cored and thinly sliced
  • 1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and sliced 1/4 inch
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh thyme 
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • pinch dried red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine
  • salt and pepper
Heat the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat.
Saute the garlic cloves for a couple of minutes, until fragrant.
Add the sliced fennel, cooking until it starts to become tender, stirring occasionally.
Add the tomatoes; cook a few minutes more.
Add zucchini, thyme, basil and red pepper flakes if desired, stirring to combine. Season with salt and pepper.
Let the vegetables cook down for about 5-8 minutes before adding white wine.
Simmer the vegetables until completely cooked but not dry.
Correct seasonings and remove thyme stems and garlic cloves (optional, some people love the cooked garlic).

For a printable recipe click here

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