Sunday, November 1, 2009

Better than the movie: Ratatouille with Feta

All week dinner goes a little something like this: protein, grain, vegetable. Invariably, that means a a chicken breast, rice, and one of the following: salad, asparagus, or broccoli. Sometimes we go a little crazy, with soup or enchiladas or pasta (I know, it's c to the razy!!). So when Sunday comes around, I eschew the normal and opt for something a bit more savory.

I am fortunate to have a particular brand of Crohn's that can handle most food. I adore vegetables, and for the most part, they're equally amorous. Lately I've been partaking in whole grains and aromatic curries. Mainly, my dishes need to be low-fat (for example, I gobbled two servings of lasagna at a work baby shower earlier this fall and spent the afternoon plotting bathroom breaks around meetings).

Semi-recently, I've added acidic tomatoes to the ol' repertoire, and although I can't make it a daily endeavor, they are a weekly indulgence. In that spirit, tonight I chopped and baked some ratatouille. For those not in the know, ratatouille hails from Nice, France and is a baked dish where eggplant takes center stage (I love myself some smooth and supple...okay, I'm done), and accented with squash, onions, tomatoes, peppers and herbs. Oftentimes you slice the eggplant. In my dish, I diced everything up, sauteed it in a pan with some olive oil, and then baked, adding a twist with some crumbled feta at the very end (quite possibly my favorite cheese). It's totally rustic, which is my way of saying you really don't need to measure anything and you can't go wrong. I served mine with some some crusty French bread and a viewing of The Amazing Race (Sundays at 8 pm Eastern - and my favorite team is, OF COURSE, the Harlem Globetrotters: Big Easy and, uh, the other guy...I also have some love for the cute gay brothers).

Ratatouille with Feta
  • olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 lb. eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 yellow or red pepper, sliced
  • 2 medium onions, roughly sliced
  • 2 medium zucchinis, sliced
  • 2 tsp. thyme
  • 3 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped (or 1. tsp. dry)
  • 1 can "Italian" diced tomatoes
  • 1 16 oz. can stewed tomatoes, drained
  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 1 tsp. white wine vinegar
  • 2-3 oz. feta cheese, crumbled (optional)
Butter a 9 x 13 inch casserole dish. In a large saucepan, heat olive oil and saute garlic, eggplant and peppers until tender. Add onions, zucchini, thyme and basil and cook for about 2 minutes. Add tomatoes, broth and vinegar and spoon mixture into the casserole dish. Bake at 350 for an hour. If desired, top with feta and bake for five additional minutes until cheese begins to melt. Enjoy with egg noddles or fresh bread.

Luscious, luscious vegetables. Gimme gimme.

Fresh outta the oven.

There is no better excuse for crusty bread.


  1. I liked the idea of baking it.
    What about watching the Phillies?


  2. I think my obsession with the Phillies is already beginning to wain. I know, I'm pathetic. I mean, I'm still watching the World Series, but these dang games are like 3 1/2 hours! So I watched The Amazing Race for the first hour. It was a good compromise.