Guest Author - Sandie Jarrett
This basic dish is tasty served as a side dish for meat or chicken. My favorite way to serve it is to add bite sized pieces of chicken to the vegetables during cooking and then toss with cooked pasta for a delicious one-dish meal. Leftover Ratatouille can be used to fill omelets or used in a frittata.
3 – 4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cups olive oil (divided)
1 large onion, diced
1 lb. zucchini (5 – 7 medium), cut into 1/4 inch rounds
4 large bell peppers (red, green or orange or a combination of all three), cut into 1/4 inch strips
1 lb. eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 #300 can diced tomatoes (14 – 16 oz can) or peel, seed and dice 1 lb fresh tomatoes
2 teaspoons dried sweet basil (double if using fresh)
1 tablespoon fresh flat leaf parsley, minced
1 teaspoon dried thyme (double if using fresh)
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Cajun Spice Blend (or add to taste)
Sea salt to taste (about 1 teaspoon)
Heat about 1/4 cup olive oil in a large heavy pot or skillet over medium heat. Add zucchini and bell peppers; sauté until just tender-crisp – about 3 – 4 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Add more olive oil to the pan, if necessary, and add the onions and eggplant. Sauté 3 – 4 minutes, then add the garlic, sautéing the mixture a few more minutes.
Add the tomatoes. Cook for 2 minutes, and then add the zucchini mixture. Gently stir and add seasonings. Turn down heat and simmer until vegetables are tender but still slightly crisp. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding more Cajun seasoning, sea salt, or freshly ground black pepper.
Garnish with fresh herbs and serve hot.
If the zucchini are too large in diameter, cut the rounds in half.
Add only enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan.
When I make this dish, which I do often, I add whatever fresh herbs I have on hand. My usually blend includes basil, thyme or oregano, and flat leaf or Italian parsley.
I always use a salt-free Cajun seasoning blend so I add sea salt to taste. If your favorite seasoning blend has salt, add the seasoning blend first, and then only add salt if you need to.
Turn this side dish into the main event!
For a delicious Chicken Pasta Meal, cut 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts into strips or bite sized pieces. Brown in a small amount of hot olive oil (about 1/4 cup), cooking until almost cooked through. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside, add more olive oil, if necessary, and then cook the vegetables according to directions above. Right before sautéing the tomatoes, add the chicken back to the hot pan and cook for a minute or so. Add the tomatoes and sauté the chicken and tomatoes according to the recipe above.
Meanwhile, cook 1 pound of bowtie or penne pasta according to package directions. Drain and return to pot. Cover to keep hot.
Add the chicken and vegetable mixture to the hot pasta; toss. Transfer to a hot serving platter; sprinkle with parsley and basil. Serve immediately with a hot crusty loaf of French bread.
Where to purchase specialty ingredients for this recipe:
A delicious Salt-free Cajun Seasoning is available from The Posh Gourmet
Gourmet and other fine specialty foods, including quality olive oils, sea salts, and seasonings can also be purcahsed directly from The Posh Gourmet