This weekend I was really craving something vegetarian and I just happened to stumble upon French Guy Cooking’s recipe for ratatouille. I’ve actually made it a very long time ago and had completely forgotten about this delicious veggie stew. Another awesome thing is that this is a one-pot dish, which I always love…mainly because I hate doing the dishes. The good news was that I had all the veggies I needed to make this in the house. Unfortunately, the basil I had planted about a month ago didn’t take quite well and my harvest consisted of about 5 mediocre leaves so I decided to improvise and use my basil flavored evoo to infuse that basil flavor into the dish without having to put a lot of actual basil in it. My other deviation consisted of not only using thyme, as the recipe suggests, but using Herbs de Provence, which is a dried herb mix containing basil, thyme, and other french-centric herbs. The result was absolutely delicious. Thanks Alex for the inspiration!
- 1 large eggplant, diced into medium cubes
- 2 large zucchini, diced into medium cubes
- 1 large bell pepper, diced into medium cubes
- 2 medium red onions, quartered
- 3 large cloves of garlic, sliced thinly
- 3 medium tomatoes, diced into medium cubes
- 1 tbsp. herbs de provence
- 4 tbsp. basil extra virgin olive oil, divided in two
- 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
- salt and pepper to taste
- lemon zest to garnish
- Get a medium sized dutch oven (I prefer this over a regular pot because I really think it enhances flavor) and heat it up over medium heat. Add half of the olive oil and sauté the eggplant, zucchini, and peppers. You can do this in batches to achieve better browning for the veggies. When you’re done browning them, remove them into a bowl. They should be nice and golden.
- Next, add the remaining oil, onions, and garlic, season with the herbs de provence. Cook until golden and fragrant. Add back the eggplant, zucchini, and pepper, and throw in the tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper and add in the balsamic vinegar. Mix everything well, cover, and cook for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally for even heat distribution.
- Serve warm with a grating of lemon zest and a sprinkling of basil leaves (if you have them)