Ratatouille with homemade sauce and garden herbs

I’ve been wanting to try ratatouille for a long time, but there are so many recipes out there the choices were just daunting. So, as usual, I read as many ratatouille recipes as I could get my hands on and then set out to make my own creation, using what I liked most from each recipe. I knew I wanted to attempt the pretty layered version instead of the chunky stew version, and I knew mine needed a more marinara-like sauce rather than one made of just a few Roma tomatoes.

This vegetable dish will stay in rotation at our house but will change based on what we have available. I did use eggplant this time, but only because I wanted to make a traditional version. I’m not an eggplant fan and will omit that next time (or replace it with something I like better). As far as recipes with fresh vegetables go, I think this version of ratatouille is a new favorite. If you are looking for a healthy holiday side, this would be a nice change from the usual!

Ratatouille

a buttery, herb-laden version of this classic dish
Servings 8 people

Ingredients

  • 1 32 oz can whole, peeled tomatoes preferably Italian
  • 2 large bell peppers, red, yellow or orange
  • 4 tbsp butter
  • 8 cloves garlic or more!
  • 1 large white onion
  • salt to taste
  • 1 large handful of herbs I used basil, oregano, marjoram and thyme
  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1 large zucchini
  • 1 large yellow crookneck squash
  • 3 Roma tomatoes
  • 1 large onion
  • 3-4 tbsp avocado oil

Instructions

For the sauce

  • Place the canned tomatoes, butter and white onion (cut in half and placed face down) in a pot. This is a variation on Marcela Hazan’s sauce, so simmer the tomatoes, butter and halved onion together for about 40 minutes, smashing the tomatoes as they soften. Rough chop the bell peppers and add them about five to ten minutes in. Add the garlic about halfway through (minced). Clean and de-stem the herbs, rough chop them and toss them in to simmer another 20 minutes or so, on low. Add salt to taste. Once the sauce tastes like you want it, take it off of the heat to cool slightly. When it is no longer boiling, remove the onion and use an immersion blender to purée all of the herbs and peppers into the sauce. Set aside.

For the casserole

  • While the sauce simmers, slice all of the veggies except the tomatoes and onions, and place them in a large bowl. Liberally salt them and toss, then allow to sit for ten to 20 minutes. Drain the water out and place them on paper towels to dry. In a skillet, heat up several tablespoons of avocado oil and sauté the veggie rounds lightly, working in batches. Place about a cup of the sauce in the bottom of a heavy casserole dish and start placing the veggies around the bottom of the pan in layers, adding more sauce as needed. Cut the tomatoes and onions into round slices and begin to place them in the pan also. 
    Once all of the veggies and sauce are in the pan, bake at 400 for 20 minutes.

Ingredients:

  • One large can of Italian, whole peeled tomatoes
  • Two bell peppers, orange, red or yellow
  • Four tablespoons butter
  • Lots of garlic — I used close to 8 cloves
  • One white onion
  • Salt, to taste
  • Herbs of your choice, several large handfuls (I used basil, oregano, marjoram and thyme)
  • One large zucchini
  • One medium eggplant
  • One large yellow crookneck squash
  • Several Roma tomatoes
  • One large red onion
  • Several tablespoons avocado oil (amount will vary)

Directions:

For the sauce: Place the tomatoes, butter and white onion (cut in half and placed face down) in a pot. This is a variation on Marcela Hazan’s sauce, so simmer the tomatoes, butter and halved onion together for about 40 minutes, smashing the tomatoes as they soften. Rough chop the bell peppers and add them about five to ten minutes in. Add the garlic about halfway through (minced). Clean and de-stem the herbs, rough chop them and toss them in to simmer another 20 minutes or so, on low. Add salt to taste. Once the sauce tastes like you want it, take it off of the heat to cool slightly. When it is no longer boiling, remove the onion and use an immersion blender to purée all of the herbs and peppers into the sauce. Set aside.

Meanwhile, slice all of the veggies except the tomatoes and onions, and place them in a large bowl. Liberally salt them and toss, then allow to sit for ten to 20 minutes. Drain the water out and place them on paper towels to dry. In a skillet, heat up several tablespoons of avocado oil and sauté the veggie rounds lightly, working in batches. Place about a cup of the sauce in the bottom of a heavy casserole dish and start placing the veggies around the bottom of the baking pan in layers, adding more sauce as needed. Cut the tomatoes and onions into round slices and begin to place them in the pan also.

Once all of the veggies and sauce are in the pan, bake at 400 for 20 minutes. Enjoy!

How to place the veggies

More vegetable-forward recipes can be found here, here and here.

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