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Farm Fresh Baked Ratatouille

Such a colorful, tasty dish to serve on the side with your favorite entrees! Made with garden fresh zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, squash, lots of fresh basil & mozzarella cheese--this farm fresh ratatouille will certainly be a crowd pleaser.

We have a farmstand nearby called Native Son Farms, and it's one of my favorite places to visit on a Saturday. Their produce is absolutely beautiful, and they've also started selling things like cobblers, quiches and fresh tomato pies. They even have fresh-baked sourdough bread...not the kind you make in a loaf pan-- like, the real deal, crusted-top, round-loaf sourdough bread. It's so good!

A few weeks ago, I stopped in to grab a few fresh vegetables, and since I've never cooked with orange zucchini before, I thought I'd bake some ratatouille because I knew it would be beautiful with all the bright colors of the vegetables I picked up. Here's a picture of just a few of the veggies we bought, which doesn't do them justice, really, because we had quite a few and they were sooo pretty!

Best tips for the best ratatouille texture:

Draw moisture out of the eggplant

Slice eggplant into rounds; spread out flat on baking sheet lined with parchment paper, and sprinkle them with kosher salt. Refrigerate for about an hour to draw out some of the moisture; then, rinse off salt and dry with papertowels. This keeps the eggplant from being bitter and chewy and makes for the BEST texture.

Have a liberal hand with the olive oil & herbs

This dish is all about the flavor! Being liberal with the olive oil will keep your vegetables soft, and the basil + thyme makes this recipe taste sooo very fresh, so don't be shy!

It's all about the cheese

I also like to use a liberal amount of parmesan cheese and garlic powder, too. The olive oil bakes in with the parmesan and gives the ratatouille a nice slightly "creamy" feel without being too wet. I also bake mine with a nice layer of mozzarella on top because it makes this dish even more delicious. Seriously, try it!

The process:

After drawing out some of the moisture from the eggplant, preheat the oven to 375 degrees, slice the vegetables. I used 2 green zucchinis, 2 tomatoes, 2 small eggplants and 2 orange zucchinis. Stir vegetables with 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1/2 tablespoon of minced garlic, 1/4 cup yellow onion (finely chopped), 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/2 cup parmesan cheese. Mix well and pour into a baking dish prepped with a little non-stick olive oil spray. Then top with 1 tablespoon of fresh basil (chopped), 1/2 tablespoon of fresh thyme leaves and enough mozzarella cheese to lightly cover the vegetables. Bake, covered, 35 minutes. Then, remove foil and bake another 20-25 minutes, until vegetables are soft.


The Galloways

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