It is the middle of October, and we are having a beautiful and unusually warm fall here in Taos, New Mexico. We often get our first hard freeze in late September, and that ends the summer produce season. This year the nights have been in the 40's, the days 60's to 70's and my protected garden is still pumping out eggplant, tomatoes, basil, mint, onions, garlic, peppers and all the cold-weather tolerant greens, beets and carrots that are more typical of the middle of fall. I am freezing, giving away and using up all that I can because that first freeze will come at any time.
This ratatouille is the perfect go-to recipe for the seasonal transition because the ingredient combinations are so flexible. I still have tons of tomatoes, so I am using them today but the boxed, chopped version from the Pomi brand yield equally delicious results. Zucchini out of season? Use green beans, either fresh or frozen. No fresh herbs? Dried will do. Making this in summer? Add additional summer squash and skip the butternut. You get the idea. Use what you like. My only rule (for me that is) is that tomatoes, onion, garlic and spices are required.
Ratatouille is delicious as a side dish with your favorite grilled or roasted protein. I like it for brunch served with poached eggs. Top crostini or bruschetta with the ratatouille and add additional cheese for a wonderful appetizer. Please tell me in the comments section your favorite way of serving this wonderful vegetable dish. Enjoy.
Butternut Squash & Eggplant Ratatouille
(inspired from a recipe in the New York Times, 2004)
extra virgin olive oil
1 large white onion, large chop
1 tablespoon fresh oregano, or 1 tsp dried
1 tablespoon fresh Italian parsley, or 1 tsp dried
1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 medium Japanese eggplant, sliced into 1/8-inch rounds
1 butternut squash, peeled, seeded and chopped into 2-inch dice
1 large zucchini, sliced into 1/4-inch rounds (or 1 cup green beans)
1 large red bell pepper, cut into 2-inch dice
2 cups in-season heirloom tomatoes, seeded and chopped, or 1 750g box Pomi brand chopped tomatoes
freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (optional)
Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shredded
chile-infused extra virgin olive oil (optional)
Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Pour in 2 tablespoons olive oil and add the onions. Saute for 3 minutes. Add the oregano, parsley, pepper flakes, 2 teaspoons sea salt and 1 tsp pepper. Saute for two minutes, or until the onions are very soft. Add the garlic and saute another minute, frequently stirring.
Add another 2 tablespoons olive oil to the skillet. Stir in the eggplant and butternut squash. Saute for 4-5 minutes. Add the zucchini (or green beans), bell pepper and tomatoes. Stir to combine all ingredients. Reduce heat to simmer, partially cover the pan, and cook for 1-1/2 hours or until your reach the texture you like. Stir in the fresh basil if using. Taste and adjust seasonings if needed. Serve topped with the cheese and a drizzle of the chile-infused olive oil if desired. Ratatouille can be served hot, warm or at room temperature.
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It is Squash week at Food Network's Fall Fest roundup. Do you have a favorite squash recipe to share? Please list (or link) in the comments below. And be sure to check out the other delicious sounding recipes from my blogger friends and Food Network.
The Lemon Bowl: Slow Cooker Beef Curry
Creative Culinary: Slow Cooker Butternut Squash, Potato and Roasted Pepper Soup
The Wimpy Vegetarian: Butternut-Apple-Kale Panzanella Salad
Swing Eats: Roasted Butternut Squash Soup
Taste with the Eyes: Acorn Squash and Korean Pear Salad, Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Napa Farmhouse 1885: Butternut Squash & Eggplant Ratatouille
Red or Green: Butternut Squash & Chipotle Frittata
The Mom 100: Butternut Squash, Black Bean and Chicken Enchilada Cups
Healthy Eats: From Soup to Stir-Fry: 6 Healthy Uses for In-Season Squash
FN Dish: 7 Days of In-Season Squash
I have started sharing my newest blog "California Girl in Taos." Please visit and let me know what you think.