Kitchen Sink Ratatouille

Summer is winding down, but my zucchini and tomato harvest seems to be winding up. And thanks to a generous neighbor, I have plenty of eggplant which means it’s time for one of my favorite summer meals, ratatouille. If you think you don’t like ratatouille, try this before you turn your back on this summer staple.

Got veggies? Use 'em up in this delicious ratatouille!

If you’ve been reading my posts, you know that I’m not one to follow recipes. So while eggplant and summer squash are traditional, use whatever vegetables you have on hand. I first tasted and fell in love with ratatouille in San Francisco thanks to a college roommate that took me out of my baked potato dinner doldrums oh so many years ago. Thanks, Christie!

This recipe tastes much better the next day and makes enough for a generous dinner for two plus four quarts of ratatouille to put in the freezer.

1-2 large onions, cut into chunks
generous pour of olive oil (I mean generous!)
6-8 chard stalks, optional
1 tablespoon of whole sea salt (or 1 teaspoon finely ground salt)
several pinches dried thyme, garbled, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon or so dried oregano, garbled, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (only if you like a bit of a kick)
1-2 bell peppers, chopped, optional
1 large zucchini (great use for that baseball bat zuke, minus the seeds)
1 large eggplant, chopped into 1-inch cubes
4-8 cloves garlic, chopped
1 can whole or crushed tomatoes or 1 quart fresh tomatoes, chopped
1 quart water
very large handful fresh basil, chopped
freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1 bunch greens, any kind, chopped, optional

1. Heat a 1 gallon pot. Add olive and heat. Add onion and chard stalks, if using. Add salt, oregano and thyme. Saute and keep adding vegetables as you chop them, adding the garlic last.

2. Add the tomatoes and water and simmer for approximately 30 minutes or until the vegetables are completely cooked. Adjust seasoning. Serve over cappellini or linguini with extra fresh basil and freshly grated parmesan on top. Enjoy!

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4 Responses to Kitchen Sink Ratatouille

  1. C.C. says:

    Thank you for sharing your version of Ratatouille, a dish my sis and I grew up with as our mom made it – inspired by Julia Child – in the late 60’s …

    I just have to add that I cannot make Ratatouille without a bay leaf – that and garlic, and the onion, olive oil, tomato and zuke being the absolute foundation elements. Eggplant would be next. But if you don’t have it, the taste of all the others together fits the bill. At a Santa Fe French restaurant I ordered their Ratat and it did not have bay leaf in it – I could tell – and did not enjoy it very much.

    Have you ever tried adding bay leaf? Maybe some people don’t like it.

    Just have to say that there are now 3rd generationers of our family who also love it.

    And when I was in Chicago last fall and ate at a Turkish restaurant, they had a very similar vegetable stew that had green beans in it that I loved.

    Thanks for this very enjoyable blog, focusing on food – plants, cooking , growing.

  2. Thanks, CC, I wholeheartedly agree. Bay leaf! I usually add this, but didn’t this time for whatever reason. Even though the ratatouille was so tasty, I can picture how the bay leaf would add that extra something. Thanks for the reminder and the kind words about the blog! jen

  3. C.C. says:

    Do you all grow bay leaf – is it possible in NM?

  4. No, but if I had a greenhouse I would. It’s too cold to overwinter here, and no room in the house!

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