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!
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.