I made Ratatouille tonight! More specifically, Ratatouille Provençal, straight out of my copy of the Joy of Cooking. I’ve been meaning to find something new to cook as an alternative to the chili, with the requirement of it being hearty, made from healthy stuff, easy, and good for lunch-packing. Ratatouille seems to fit all of those categories, and after perusing many, many recipes online today, I decided that the Joy of Cooking one seemed to be the most simple. It seemed like as good a place to start as any.
Ratatouille recipes vary pretty widely; my mom remembers my grandmother making it with tomatoes, zucchini, and onions, and recipes seem to be undecided on whether eggplant is required, as well as the merits of yellow vs. green squash/zucchini. (I am so embarrassed to admit this, but I didn’t realize until the sign in the produce aisle told me that yes, they are the same damn thing. Way to go, college graduate! Know your produce!) I made it with eggplant, zucchini, two red bell peppers, an onion, garlic, a can of diced tomatoes (while using fresh tomatoes would be preferable to this giant tomato fan, when the recipe calls for them to peeled, I am not above being REALISTIC about my cutting skillz. Really.) and some seasoning. It was very easy and totally straightforward (except for the part where you cook the eggplant and zucchini first, then save them in a bowl to be added in at the end; other recipes seem to just switch up the cooking order and leave it at that). Of course, I didn’t end up eating until after 9pm after a slow supermarket trip, even slower chopping, and a surprise visit from my siblings.
My verdict? While maybe I didn’t love it, I really, really liked it. I will definitely make this again, and feel totally confident in modifying this recipe for next time: one bell pepper, way more zucchini and either no eggplant (the jury is still out on eggplant. Do I like it? …maybe? Can I tolerate it? Sure. Would I choose to eat it? …uhh….) or a way smaller amount of eggplant. And one of these days, maybe I’ll learn to be more adventurous with seasoning. One (baby) step at a time. (PS. I would post the recipe here, but I am a bit unclear, still, about whether that’s really allowed, copyright-wise. Or maybe it’s just the holy book status of the Joy of Cooking that gives me pause. Ah well.)