Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Ratatouille Pasta

Okay, I've tweaked this quite a bit from a few different ideas.  The big revelation for me came from Food & Wine where a guy made subs with ratatouille and a goat cheese spread.  It's a really terrific combination.   The ratatouille can be tweaked to your hearts content. 

I like to chop all of the veggies into bite sized pieces and then saute them individually.  That's for a couple of reasons: I can get started cooking one while I'm chopping the next and because it makes a ton, I think it's good to do it in smaller batches so that you can get each thing properly cooked (and room in the pan = caramelization and that means flavor). 

Prep (you can do this a day before or, if you're a fast chopper, while your water is heating for the pasta).

1 med eggplant, peeled & cut into bite sized pieces (NOTE: if you have time, I like to toss it in a colander and put a TB or so of kosher salt over it and allow it to set for 30 minutes or so.  This will pull a lot of the moisture out of the eggplant and seems to remove any of the bitter taste that eggplant can sometimes have.  Then just rinse it off and proceed.)

2 red peppers
1 zucchini
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
thyme - to taste but several sprigs or about a TB dried
olive oil

saute each item in olive oil & garlic.  Add thyme, salt & pepper and set aside. 
(you can do everything up to here a day or two ahead of time and just reheat the night you make the pasta)

Once it's all done, add it back into the pan and add a can of diced tomatoes (drained) and some more thyme.

Cook your pasta (I like Rigatoni - but whatever works for you) and when it's almost done, pull out about a cup of the cooking water and set it aside, then drain the pasta.

Into the hot pasta pot, pour the veggies, the pasta and one log of goat cheese, sliced into small chunks. Toss it all together and allow it to melt and get all silky.  If things seem a bit dry, add in about half of the pasta water and keep tossing.  The moisture will absorb and you'll just have a beautiful pasta.

Some additions that could be really good in this?  A can of black olives and maybe some sauteed mushrooms? 

Let me know if this recipe is confusing ... it's kind of convoluted to type out but really simple when you're tossing it all together.  This will feed an army and still have some left for lunch the next day.  I haven't tried it but I'm guessing it'll freeze well too.

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