Wednesday, September 17, 2008


As I mentioned a while back, I have a ton of marinara sauce. But at the same time, I'm watching what I eat pretty carefully these days, which means I can't be eating too much pasta. So what to do?

Somehow, I thought of doing a fake lasagna with some zucchini thin-sliced horizontally, with the Morningstar Farm Grillers Prime or Sausage Recipe Crumbles (or whatever they're called) and some low fat ricotta or cottage cheese. Though I was not too keen on the cheese portion. My neighbor and trainer Heather, pointed out that this is basically rataouille, if I added eggplant and red bell pepper.

Not a fan of that vegetable, by the way. My stepmother is the only person that's actually made me eggplant that I liked and it was seriously fried, so I dunno if that counts.

I decided to give it a shot. The first effort, san eggplant, was really pretty good. I did a bit of experimentation, even trying some eggplant I found at the farmer's market. I got the small zucchini-sized ones (not japanese eggplant, smaller versions of the regular). I think I have a really winner here. After all that, I finally opened a cookbook and found that I was making pretty close to authentic ratatouille.

Oh, and I freaking love my ScanPan saute pan. More on that another day, but my God, it's like magic.

Here's my first shot at writing a recipe:

1 small, narrow eggplant
1 medium yellow squash
1 medium zucchini squash
1/2 yellow onion
1/2 red ball pepper
2 cloves garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
kosher salt
1 cup marinara sauce
1+ tbsp fresh oregeno
2 tbsp fresh basil

Slice eggplant into thin disks. Place in single layer in a colander (over a paper towel or plate to catch the liquid) sprinkled with kosher salt. Sprinkle kosher salt across top as well. Let sweat for ~45 minutes.

Slice onion and red bell pepper into sticks. Slice yellow squash and zucchini into thin disks. Using the back of a chef's knife or pastry scraper, mash peeled garlic cloves with kosher salt into a paste (salt crystals will act as an abrasive). Mince herbs. At the end of the 45 minutes, pat the eggplant dry with paper towels.

Heat saute pan to medium high. Add olive oil. When oil starts to shimmer, add onions. When onion softens, add mashed garlic. When garlic is browned, add zucchini and summer squash. Heat until both start to soften, turning a bit translucent. Add eggplant and heat until that starts to turn translucent as well. Add red bell pepper. Heat until bell pepper begins to soften. Pour marinara into pan around the edges and sprinkle the herbs across the top. Gently fold in the sauce to the vegetables until heated through.

Serves 4 as a side, 2 as a main course.

* This seems to be all the rage these days. I learned it at the Chopping Block and have since see it on How to Boil Water with Tyler Florence and, yes, America's Test Kitchen

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