I have been excited about Summer to Fall transition recipes. The abundance and quality of late summer produce makes me wish I knew how to can and preserve and make jams and jellies. Maybe next year! Ratatouille is a beautiful and tasty dish, especially when it’s prepared with alternating rounds of perfectly sliced eggplant, zucchini and tomato. However, I love that this one is more “devil may care” with all the beautiful veggies just mixed together and topped with the insanely delicious Parmesan-oat crumble. The crumble was so savory and buttery I’m thinking about making the dough into crackers to use with soups and stews this Autumn. This ratatouille includes butternut squash which I think is genius! The sweetness rounds out the flavors of the dish, and now that I’ve tasted it that way it should always be in there!
from: The Vegetable Butcher
2/3 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
3/4 cup flour (all-purpose or almond flour for GF)
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese plus 1/4 cup for finishing
2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves, chopped
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
6 tablespoons cold, unsalted butter (I love Kerrygold pure Irish butter)
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1 large red or yellow onion, cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 small butternut squash (about 1 1/2 pounds) peeled, seeded, and cut into 1/2 inch dice
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 medium-sized eggplant, cut into 1/2 inch dice
1 medium-sized zucchini, (seeded if necessary) cut into 1/2 inch dice
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup vegetable stock
2 large tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/2 cup loosely packed fresh basil leaves, chopped
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for garnishing
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
make the crumble
Stir together the oats, flour, 1/2 cup parmesan, thyme, salt and pepper in a medium-size bowl until evenly combined. Use the large holes on a box grater to grate the cold butter into the mixture. Add the lemon juice and mustard. Use your hands to mix the ingredients (the heat of your hands helps meld the butter with the rest of the ingredients), breaking up the butter, until the flour and butter are completely combined into one ball. Wrap the mixture in plastic wrap and chill it while you make the ratatouille, about 30 minutes, or up to 24 hours ahead.
make the ratatouille
Heat the oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion, garlic, and bell pepper and cook, stirring frequently, until they just begin to soften, 3 minutes. Stir in the butternut squash and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the squash just begins to soften, about 5 minutes. Stir in the tomato paste, eggplant, zucchini, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are just tender but not overly soft, about 5 minutes. (Add half of the vegetable stock if the vegetables begin to stick to the pot at any time, or start to turn too brown.)
Add the vegetable stock (or remaining stock), tomatoes, thyme, and 1/4 teaspoon salt, scraping the bottom and stirring to combine, and cook for another minute. Stir in the vinegar and basil. Adjust the salt and pepper to taste. Divide the mixture among individual ovenproof bowls or gratin dishes or spoon it into a 9-by-13-inch baking dish.
Remove the crumble mixture from the refrigerator, break it into pieces, and sprinkle it over the ratatouille to cover. Top with the remaining 1/4 cup of parmesan.
Bake until the crumble is lightly browned and simmering around the edges, about 25 minutes. (Your neighbors will be pressing their noses to your windows and doors, wondering where that heavenly aroma is coming from…) If you wish, finish under the broiler to brown the crumble and parmesan further, about 2 minutes. Garnish with the chopped parsley and serve hot.
If you would like to make more classic ratatouille, replace the butternut squash with 2 more medium zucchini.