Before a mob of angry French grandmothers shows up at my door with torches, I should say that this is NOT ratatouille. At least not in the traditional sense. Traditional ratatouille has each component cooked individually then layered in a delicious casserole that is then baked as a whole. If you served this dish to your French grandmother and called it ratatouille, she’d clutch her pearls, fan herself vigorously, and look for a restorative draught of espresso to bring her back to sanity. That being said, if you have a hyper toddler and a fridge full of summer veggies, this ratatouille is close enough to fit the bill. I invented this recipe after looking at a traditional recipe and saying to myself “I don’t have time for all these steps, I’m going to toss it all together and see what happens.” The rest is culinary history.
1-2 lbs eggplant, peeled and cut into 1/2″ cubes
1/2 a medium onion, finely diced
1 large bell pepper, finely diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
2 T olive oil
2 zucchini or other summer squash, sliced thin
8 oz white mushrooms, sliced
1 lb tomatoes, medium dice
1/4 c fresh parsley
In a colander, toss the eggplant with a few generous sprinkles of salt. Let sit for 30 minutes while you chop the remaining veg. After it sits, rinse with cold water and squeeze as much water out a your hands can manage.
In a 5 qt dutch oven or other large pot, saute the onion, bell pepper, and garlic in olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add the eggplant, squash, and mushrooms. Cook until the vegetables are softened and releasing their juices – 10-25 minutes. Add the tomatoes and cook another 3-4 minutes, or until the tomatoes soften. Stir in the parsley along with salt and pepper to taste. You can also add parmesan cheese (or mozzarella, as the picture shows, because that’s what was in my kitchen). Serve along side egg noodles, orzo, or rice.