“Hey… Why do they call it that? [. . .] Ratatouille. It’s like a stew, right? Why do they call it that? If you’re gonna name a food, you should give it a name that sounds delicious. Ratatouille doesn’t sound delicious. It sounds like “rat” and “patootie.” Rat-patootie, which does not sound delicious.” –Linguini, Disney’s […]0
“Hey… Why do they call it that? [. . .]
Ratatouille. It’s like a stew, right? Why do they call it that?
If you’re gonna name a food, you should give it a name that sounds delicious. Ratatouille doesn’t sound delicious.
It sounds like “rat” and “patootie.” Rat-patootie, which does not sound delicious.”
–Linguini, Disney’s “Ratatouille”
Au contraire, Linguini. Ratatouille is, in fact, delicious. I had never even heard of the dish until I saw Disney’s movie (which is quite good–you should watch it, even if you don’t have kids). Malachi and I watched it again last week and every fabulous French dish had my mouth watering. Yes, french food, even computer animated, looks positively delightful. So, then, I happened upon a slow cooker cookbook entitled The $7 a Meal Slow Cooker Cookbook, which features “301 inexpensive meals that whole family will love!” (BTW, I already LOVE this cookbook.)
Anyway, there is a ratatouille recipe, and while it may or may not be the traditional ratatouille recipe, it is super-yummy, relatively inexpensive, easy, and super-yummy (did I already say that :D). So, here is the recipe with a few of my own little variations 😀
Okay, so here is your ingredient list:
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon sugar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 eggplant, sliced 1/2 inch thing
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow summer squash, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
1 jar sliced mushrooms, drained
1 green bell pepper, sliced
1 jar spaghetti sauce
3 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup diced feta cheese
So, up front, you need to know that I don’t usually cook straight from the recipe. I kind go with what I think will taste good, also taking into consideration the fact that, well, I forgot to buy tomoatoes, so I didn’t use any of those. That type of thing.
Alrighty, first you combine the salt, pepper, oregano, Italian seasoning, and sugar in a bowl. I actually used Splenda instead of sugar. Less calories, and it’s all I keep on hand anyway. Mix it up in a bowl, then set it to the side.
Now, I personally don’t slice everything up in advance; I do it as I go. Would it be more efficient to do it all beforehand? Yeah, probably. Oh well. My kitchen. I can slice as I go if I want to.
I had never seen uncooked sliced eggplant before, and I actually looked up a photo on the internet to make sure it was supposed to look like this. It was. Yay me.
Then, you sautee it in the olive oil. The first half of the eggplant slices I did in olive oil, then remembered that I don’t really love the smell or taste of olive oil. The next batch I did in margarine. Yummy, melty, buttery goodness. MUUUUCH better. In order to sautee, you need the stove to be on medium to medium low heat. Easily translated, if your stove knob counts up to ten, put it on about four. And I am actually a salt fiend, so I went ahead and sprinkled sea salt on the slices while they were sauteing.
As an aside, this is my workspace while cooking. Yes, that is Diet Coke and coffee that I am sipping on.
Back to work. The sauteed eggplant should look like this.
Put the eggplant to the side in a bowl. Or on a plate. Whatever.
Then, you are going to slice and dice your garlic and onions all together.
This (below) is why I hate using fresh garlic. It is such a pain to peel. And it is sticky, too. Yucky.
I got fed up with the fresh garlic and didn’t use a whole clove, so to cover up my cheating, I sprinkled garlic powder in with the fresh garlic and onion when sauteing. Also, I didn’t actually mince my garlic, nor did I use a whole onion. Who cares? Again–my kitchen, my dish.
This is when I sprinkled in the garlic powder:
Okay, then you set the sauteed onions and garlic to the side.
Make sure you spray your slow cooker pot. I promise, it’s for the best.
Next, slice up your squash and green peppers.
Then, you simply layer. Put down a layer of eggplant, onion and garlic mixture, green peppers, squash, and mushrooms, then sprinkle with the seasoning mixture that we mixed up earlier. Do that however many more times you need to until you are out of veggies. If you have some seasoning mixture leftover, that is a-okay, cause we can use it in a bit.
Mix half of your spaghetti sauce (Prego is the sauce of choice in our house) with tomato paste. While the recipe actually calls for 3 tablespoons of tomato paste, I used the whole can (you know, those teeny tiny cans of tomato paste), mainly because I wanted my finished product to be a bit thicker. Also, the original recipe says to use a food processor. You don’t actually need to dirty up the food processor (again, with my lazy-in-the-kitchen-ness), just mix it up with a fork. Mix in the rest of the spaghetti sauce and any leftover seasoning mix you have, as well as the balsamic vinegar. I personally LOVE balsamic, so I put WAY more that the recipe listed. I just poured it til I felt like it was enough 😀
Pour that on top of the layered veggies, then set your slow cooker on low for 7-9 hours, and BAM–dinner is served!
It was SO delicious–not bitter and definitely on the sweet side (just the way I like, well, everything). It is meant to be a stew, but my father-in-law actually suggested serving it over pasta, and I think that is an incredible idea. I mean, I love me some carbs. Figure out how to serve bread or pasta with something, and I am THERE. Now, I am off to get some penne to serve with the leftovers!
So, there you go. Stick this in the slow cooker in the morning, dinner in the evening. Yum-city.
Oh, don’t forget to top it with some feta cheese–ohmygoodnessyumminess!0