Preparing this ratatouille conjured up memories of sitting on a friend’s parents’ sailboat eating the most amazing ratatouille with chunks of fresh, crusty bread. I think we were in college then so it was quite some time ago, but it obviously made an impression if I’ve remembered it for this many years. Ahhh…the college years.
Although that was some time ago I can tell you that learning to prepare this recipe (or it’s Sicilian cousin, caponata) will impress your spouse and your friends. It’s completely simple and a wonderful way to prepare summer-fresh veggies and fresh basil. Did I tell you it reheats beautifully?
The goat cheese in this recipe will elevate your ratatouille to another level. There is something so exquisite about the tangy, creaminess of goat cheese. You can leave it off, but I wouldn’t.
Notice the basil. I plucked mine from my herb garden. That tiny little plant is now nearly 3 feet tall. I’ll be making (and freezing) lots of pesto this weekend.
Ratatouille with Goat Cheese
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
6 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium eggplant (unpeeled), medium-chop
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
4 Roma tomatoes, cored and chopped
1 medium sweet onion, chopped
2 small or 1 large zucchini, diced
1/2 cup fresh basil, chopped plus more for garnish
Freshly ground black pepper
2 1/2 tbsp good red wine vinegar
1 package (about 4 ounces) fresh goat cheese, cut into small pieces
Heat oil in heavy-bottomed, Dutch oven over medium heat; add chopped garlic; stir constantly for 1 minute. Add vegetables and chopped basil. Saute 5-7 minutes. Cover pot and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 25 minutes. Lift lid and stir occasionally.
Uncover pot, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened, about 10-12 minutes. Stir in vinegar. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Transfer ratatouille to shallow baking dish. Dot with goat cheese and bake about 20 minutes. Garnish with additional basil if desired.
Yield: About 3 1/4 cups
Cooking Tip: Serve with big chunks of fresh bread, mix with cooked pasta, serve alongside grilled chicken or use atop garlicky bread croutons (like bruschetta).