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Ratatouille with Italian Sausage

13 October 2009

Ratatouille2_102009

You’ve probably seen the movie with the cute little rat who dreams of being a chef, right?  You’ve probably either seen Julie & Julia or read a book on Julia Child.  If you are anything like me (and because you’re here reading this, I like to think that you are) I like to think you have a) done all of the above and b) those collective experiences made you want to start cooking more frequently.  I never particularly loved squash flavored things growing up, but when I saw Ratatouille I suddenly had a craving for French countryside squashiness.  After a little googling and a lot of tweaking I came up with this fantastic recipe for Ratatouille.  Note: I add Italian Sausage to mine to mask a little of the extra squashy taste, however if you prefer it strictly vegetarian simply omit the sausage.  Because you are slicing all the veggies, it is helpful to find similar sized eggplant, zucchini and squash…look for long and skinny eggplant (the Japanese variety are shaped perfectly for this) and a long and skinny red bell pepper.

Ratatouille with Italian Sausage
Preheat oven to 375

1/2 lb. Italian Sausage
1 small onion, minced
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 teaspoons oregano
salt & pepper
1 small eggplant (I used Japanese eggplant)
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow squash
1 long red bell pepper (long and skinny is key)
3-4 springs fresh thyme

In large skillet brown sausage, add onion, garlic, and salt and pepper.  Remove from heat and add tomato puree, oregano and generously salt and pepper.  Pour mixture into oval 10″ baking dish and set aside.

Trim ends of eggplant, zucchini, squash; core bell pepper.  Slice very thin (use mandolin or super sharp knife), arrange atop tomato mixture in dish, concentrically, alternating veggies.  Drizzle with remaining tablespoon olive oil, salt and pepper.  Sprinkle with thyme leaves.  This just looks gorgeous in the pan, see?

Ratatouille_102009

Cut a piece or parchment to fit the top of the dish, cover veggies with parchment and bake 45-55 minutes.  Vegetables should be tender, not brown,  and sauce should be bubbly.  Serve with Romano cheese (or goat cheese).

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