Sorry for the prolonged absence. I'm stretched 90 ways from Sunday. This means that Stuart and I are juggling dog care, housekeeping chores and kitchen duty. He whipped up this amazing ratatouille marinara to welcome me home last night. It's not seasonal, but man, is it ever healthy and comforting.
1 large eggplant, diced
2 medium zucchini, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 large onion, diced
1 can stewed tomatoes (28 ounces)
1 4-ounce can tomato paste
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 ounces of Greek olives, coarsely chopped
1 tablespoon capers
2 tablespoons dried oregano
1 tablespoon dried basil
1 tablespoon dried thyme
Tony's Creole Seasoning
16 ounces of pasta - penne, spirals or whatever you like
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
Fresh basil or Italian parsley for garnish
1. Peel, slice, salt eggplant for about 30 minutes. Rinse, dry, chop into bite-sized pieces.
2. Saute' onions, garlic in 2 tablespoons olive oil until they start to tan. Add eggplant and saute' 10 to 15 minutes until it begins to soften. Add zucchini and saute' another 5 minutes or so, remembering that "ratatouille" is the French word for "toss."
3. Add 1 cup or so of red wine and cook off the alcohol, 5 or 10 minutes.
4. Add tomatoes, tomato paste, seasoning. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 30 minutes or so.
5. Adjust seasoning to taste. I'm lavish with oregano, light with other herbs and cautious with spicy creole seasoning. You can always add more.
6. Cook pasta according to directions and set aside.
7. About 15 minutes before you're ready to eat, add a couple hand fulls of chopped olives and a tablespoon of capers. Simmer until heated through.
8. Garnish with fresh herbs - parsley or basil. Sprinkle with parmesan. Accompany with crusty bread.
(Hint: if you want your companion to cook, it's smart to have all the ingredients on hand. Otherwise, you never hear the end of it.)
~Adapted from Rachael Ray's 30-Minute Meals (which always take longer than 30 minutes)