Eggplants are one of my favorite foods, but I didn’t want to give a basic recipe for something like eggplant parmesan. Don’t get me wrong, I love eggplant parm, but there’s more to the veggie than just as a substitute for chicken. And how pretty are these Italian eggplants!
I made ratatouille for the first time back in college. I had to make a three-course meal for one of my classes (that people paid to attend!) and each group was given a theme. For that year, the theme was Disney movies, and my group happened to get Ratatouille! I was so excited because not only is that one of my favorite Pixar movies, but making a French meal gave us a lot of options and recipes to explore. We ended up making 9 different recipes, more than anyone else, including homemade herb butter with cream from the cows at our school, fresh baguettes, orange chocolate madeleines, and of course, ratatouille.
Ratatouille is often a summer dish with the squashes used and the lightness of the dish, but as we get towards the end of eggplant season and into the cold weather, making a hearty, autumn-y ratatouille certainly hits the spot.
Filled with lots of sage, other fall veggies can be substituted for the standard summer squashes such as butternut squash and rutabaga, although I chose to stick with traditional veggies and fill my sauce with seasonal flavors.
While this recipe can be time-consuming slicing all the veggies thinly, using a mandolin can definitely save a lot of time and keep everything nice and uniform.
Serves 4, Prep time: 60 minutes, Cook time: 45 minutes
- 1/4 onion finely diced
- 2 garlic cloves, minced*
- 1 15 oz can crushed tomatoes
- 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves
- 1 tbsp fresh sage leaves, chopped
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 2-3 tbsp dry white wine
- salt and pepper
- 1 small eggplant, as skinny as possible
- 1 medium zucchini
- 1 medium yellow summer squash
- 3 roma tomatoes
- 1 tsp EVOO
- salt and pepper
- a few thyme leaves
- fresh mozzarella
- fresh parmesan
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- In a sauce pan over medium heat, add 1 tbsp of butter and onion. Season with salt and pepper. Cook until onion is translucent.
- Add garlic and cook for 1-2 minutes until garlic is fragrant but not burned.
- Add crushed tomatoes, thyme, and sage, and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring often.
- Add butter, EVOO, and wine, cook for another 1-2 minutes and season with salt and pepper
- Slice veggies as thinly as possible with a sharp knife or a mandolin.
- Pour sauce to cover the bottom of a pie dish.
- Arrange slices of alternating veggies at an angle until dish is full. They should be fairly tight, but not overly so.
- Top with drizzle of EVOO, salt and pepper, thyme, freshly grated parmesan, and dollops of fresh mozzarella.
- Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes.
- Enjoy with some crusty bread!
*an easy trick to peeling garlic quickly is to crush it with the blade of your knife like in this picture