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Friday, June 10, 2016

I Put Basil in the Ratatouille

I Put Basil in the Ratatouille with green lentil penne basilico

The Ingredients (for 6 to 8 servings):

  • 6 ripe tomatoes, weighing approximately 900 g (or 2 lb)
  • 2 red onions, weighing approximately 450 g (or 1 lb)
  • 4 to 5 cloves of garlic, weighing approximately 20 g (or ¾ oz)
  • 2 to 3 Asian eggplants, weighing approximately 340 g (or ¾ lb)
  • 1 or 2 crookneck squash, weighing approximately 450 g (or 1 lb)
  • 3 bell peppers, weighing approximately 450 g (or 1 lb)
  • several sprigs of basil
  • several sprigs of thyme
  • 1 small (400-g, or 14-oz) can of whole tomatoes, preferably San Marzano style plum tomatoes
  • 22 ml (or 1½ tablespoons) of balsamic vinegar
  • 1 lemon
  • cooking grade olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

    The Method:
    1. About 2 hours before serving the ratatouille, begin to prep the vegetables.
    2. Boil a large pan of water and immerse the raw tomatoes in the boiling water for 20 seconds, then place them on a board or a grid to cool.
    3. When they are cool, peel them, cut them in halves across—mid way between the stem and the bottom dimple.
    4. Press out and discard the seeds from the tomato halves, then cut them into bite-size pieces.
    5. Peel the onions and slice them into wedges.
    6. Peel the garlic cloves and grind them with a mortar and pestle or put them through a garlic press.
    7. Wash the eggplants and cut them into bite-size pieces.
    8. Wash the crookneck squash and cut them into bite-size pieces.
    9. Wash the bell peppers, remove stems and seeds, and cut them into bite-size pieces.
    10. Strip the basil sprigs, reserve the leaves, and chop the stems finely.
    11. Heat 45 ml (or 3 tablespoons) of olive oil in the bottom of a large pan.
    12. Over medium heat, sauté the eggplant slices until they begin to render the oil.
    13. Add the onion and garlic, and continue to sauté until the onion softens, adding more oil if necessary.
    14. Add the squash, bell peppers, and basil stems, and continue to saute until all of the vegetables have a thin coating of oil.
    15. Add the thyme leaves, tomatoes, canned tomatoes, and balsamic vinegar and mix well.
    16. Taste, season with salt and pepper, and mix again.
    17. Still over medium heat, simmer the vegetables for 40 minutes, or until the liquid is reduced and slightly thickened.
    18. Meanwhile, if the reserved basil leaves are large, roughly chop them. (Mine were small enough to leave whole.)
    19. Grate the zest off the lemon.
    20. When the ratatouille is fully cooked, add the basil and lemon zest and mix well to distribute it throughout.

      The Story:

      This recipe closely follows Jamie Oliver's Classic Ratatouille on his web site.

      On this occasion, though, I added strips of seasoned opah (or moonfish) fillet About 5 minutes before executing step 20, making this into a rat-a-tat-tat fish stew.
      I Put Basil in the Ratatouille, with opah and green lentil penne basilico

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