Ratatouille (sans the rat)

I watched the Disney-Pixar film “Ratatouille” back in the spring and really did think it was cute and funny.  I would love to make Remy’s unique take on this traditional meal, when I have 3-4 hours to spare for dinner.  The recipe I used last night I found on Epicurious and was super easy and super tasty.  It reminded me of Briam, one of my most favorite summer meals!  The only difference being you bake briam and use parsley/mint versus basil.  Again all the ingredients, including the feta I sprinkled on top(from Bulgaria!), I got from the share and Almanac Market…EXCEPT for the small eggplants from my Dad’s garden!  Thanks Dad!

Ratatouille (from Epicurious)

1 onion, sliced thin
2 garlic cloves, minced (I used 6 cloves)
5 tablespoons olive oil
a 3/4-pound eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (about 3 cups)
1 small zucchini, scrubbed, quartered lengthwise, and cut into thin slices
1 red bell pepper, chopped
3/4 pound small ripe tomatoes, chopped coarse (about 1 1/4 cups)
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme, crumbled
1/8 teaspoon ground coriander (I didn’t have any)
1/4 teaspoon fennel seeds (this was a GREAT spice for this dish!)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup shredded fresh basil leaves

In a large skillet cook the onion and the garlic in 2 tablespoons of the oil over moderately low heat, stirring occasionally, until the onion is softened. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons oil and heat it over moderately high heat until it is hot but not smoking. Add the eggplant and cook the mixture, stirring occasionally, for 8 minutes, or until the eggplant is softened. Stir in the zucchini and the bell pepper and cook the mixture over the moderate heat, stirring occasionally, for 12 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and cook the mixture, stirring occassionaly, for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Stir in the oregano, the thyme, the coriander, the fennel seeds, the salt, and pepper to taste and cook the mixture, stirring, for 1 minute. Stir in the basil and combine the mixture well. The ratatouille may be made 1 day in advance, kept covered and chilled, and reheated before serving.

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