Ratatouille with Roasted Eggplant and Summer Squashes

One of my co-workers “donates” his excess produce to me. This week it was a couple of mid-size eggplants. My mind went to ratatouille. The farm next to the office yield everything else I needed.

Ratatouille with Roasted Eggplant and Summer Squashes
Servings: 12+
Prep time: 3 hours 15 minutes
Total time: 4 hours – only about 45 minutes is active time

Ingredients:

  • 2 mid-size eggplants (about 1 3/4 lbs. total), cut into 1″ pieces
  • 2 tsp. table salt
  • 3 zucchini, approx. 1″ in diameter (about 1 1/2 lbs.), cut into 1″ pieces
  • 3 summer squash, approx. 1″ in diameter (about 1 1/2 lbs.), cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1/2 cup olive oil, divided
  • 1 large onion, 1/2″ dice
  • 2 bell peppers, seeded, 1/2″ pieces
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbsp.)
  • 1/4 tsp. red chile flakes
  • 2 lbs. cherry tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves
  • kosher salt and ground black pepper

Directions:

  1. Toss the eggplant pieces with the table salt and place in a large colander set in a bowl or pot. Cover with a paper towel and rest for 3 hours. Thoroughly rinse the eggplant to remove excess salt and transfer to a salad spinner. Spin 2 or 3 times until eggplant is dry.
  2. Adjust the racks in the oven so that one is in the upper third and the other is in the middle. Preheat the oven to 500°F (or 475°F if you have a convection oven). Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
  3. In a large bowl combine the dried eggplant, zucchini and summer squash with about 1/4 cup of oil and a generous pinch of kosher salt. Split evenly between the 2 baking sheets and spread into a single layer. Season with black pepper. Bake for 30 minutes, rotating pans and stirring vegetables after 10 minutes. Remove from oven to cooling racks and hold.
  4. Heat 2 tablespoons of the remaining olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium low heat. Add the onions and peppers, sprinkle with kosher salt, stir to coat with oil. Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  5. Add the garlic and chile flakes. Stir to incorporate and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the whole cherry tomatoes, stir to combine. Cook for about 5 minutes, again stirring occasionally. Some of the tomatoes will burst and others will remain whole. It’s ok.
  6. Remove the pot from the heat. Add the roasted vegetables and herbs and carefully stir to combine. Taste, adjust salt and pepper as desired.

Notes:
This came out pretty well if I do say so myself. The veggies stayed fairly cohesive while the onions and peppers basically melted into the background. That said there’s room for improvement. I think I would only roast the veggies for 20 minutes in the future to leave a bit more bite to the veggies.

This recipe is based on past experience with technique learned from Cook’s Illustrated. Additional inspiration was found in Alice Waters’ Ratatouille.

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