Thursday, August 30, 2012

Roasted Ratatouille Pasta Sauce

Whew, this has been quite the week!  I landed myself in the hospital Tuesday night with pneumonia and suspected hantavirus - luckily I do not have hantavirus, but I have about a million needle pricks to prove it!  (Ouch - I do not do well with needles!)  I'm back home and resting up, so I'll share this fantastic dinner I made a couple of weeks ago with you guys...there has not been a whole lot of home cooking this week for obvious reasons.

This was a dinner inspired entirely by our CSA box - we got eggplant, peppers, zucchini, and onions!  With all those ingredients, ratatouille was an obvious choice.  This is a way easier version of ratatouille that involves roasting all the veggies in the oven rather than sauteing each one separately. Then they're dumped in a pot with crushed up canned tomatoes, simmered a bit, and voila - you've got a simple and super delicious sauce for pasta or even just scooping up with crusty bread.  As with many tomato sauce-based dishes, it gets even better the next day, so make a big batch to enjoy all week.

Roasted Ratatouille Pasta Sauce (adapted from Luna Cafe, original recipe here)
Serves 4-6

2 medium Japanese eggplants, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 medium zucchini or summer squash, trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch slices
2 small bell peppers, trimmed and cut into 1-inch squares
1 medium onion, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch slices
4 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 T balsamic vinegar
Freshly ground black pepper
28-ounce can whole tomatoes with basil (i.e. Trader Joe's)
1/4 cup fresh mint, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme, minced
Freshly squeezed lemon juice
Cooked pasta, to serve

1. Place the eggplant in a colander and sprinkle with salt.  Let sit while you prepare the rest of the vegetables.
2. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line a large baking sheet with foil.
3. Rinse of the eggplant, pat dry, and place in a large bowl.  Add the zucchini, bell pepper, onion, and garlic. Drizzle with the oil and vinegar and toss to combine.  Season with salt and pepper and toss again.  Arrange on the baking sheet in one layer (or as close as possible).
4. Roast the veggies until they are caramelized around the edges and tender (but not dried out) - about half an hour or so.
5. While the vegetables are roasting, open up the can of tomatoes.  Break up the tomatoes with your hands, and transfer a pot along with their juices.  Bring to a boil.  Once the tomatoes are boiling, add the roasted vegetables and return to a boil.  Add the fresh mint and thyme and simmer about 15 minutes.  Add the juice of half a lemon, stir, and taste.  Add more lemon juice, salt, or pepper as needed.
6. Serve with cooked pasta.  Leftovers keep well in the fridge.

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