Friday, April 15, 2016

Healthy Friday

France is renowned for its cuisine. French vegetarian dishes include tomato croque, mushroom tomato quiche, zucchini casserole with red peppers, creamed cauliflower casserole and the traditional Provencal Ratatouille. Ratatouille is a stewed vegetable side dish that originated in Nice. It can also be served as a main course. Tomatoes are the key ingredient as well as zucchini, garlic, onions and herbs. French cooking strives to make the most of locally grown food. This is a great way to use summer produce. 
There is some debate among chefs what is the correct method to use when making this recipe. Some cooks insist on layering the vegetables as each are sauteed separately and then baked in the oven. While other cooks use the stove top method.
Remember Remey the rat who aspired to become a French chef in the movie Ratatouille?

I really enjoyed this movie so much I even purchased it. It is a heartwarming story that has many humorous moments. Renewed interest in Ratatouille recipes among cooks surged after this movie came out. I found the following recipe easy and quite flavorful. I might suggest making it the day before so the flavors can meld with each other.
Cook's notes: This recipe is my version of the classic French dish. There are a lot of variations depending on what veggies are used and method of preparation. I wanted a healthy dish that was packed with flavor. It makes a great side dish. Ratatouille can be served by itself, over pasta or rice. Recipe serves 4. 
Cooking tip: Dice onions, garlic and veggies. Place on a plate for easy assembly. 
  • 1 can (28 oz, ) San Mazzano Plum Style Tomatoes
  • 1/2 tsp. sugar
  • 2 TB. olive oil, divided
  • 1-cup sweet onion, diced yellow onion
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups medium diced eggplant (skin on) that has been salted after cutting, rinsed and drained so there is no bitterness or 2 cups asparagus, diced into 2 inch pieces
  • 1/2 cup each red and green peppers
  • 1 large zucchini, sliced thin
  • 1 cup yellow squash, sliced thin
  • 1-1/2 cups chopped tomatoes, patted dry on paper towels
  • 3 tsp, herbes de Provence, divided
  • salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
  • Make the sauce the day before or early in the day for flavors to meld. In a saucepan add canned plum tomatoes, sugar and 1 tsp. herbes de provence. Break up tomatoes with a fork. Over low heat simmer sauce for 30 minutes. Cool and refrigerate.   
  • Set oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  • Place zucchini, squash, eggplant  or asparagus on baking sheet. Drizzle 1 TB. olive oil over veggies and sprinkle with 1 tsp. herbes de Provence. Roast for 15 minutes. 
  • In a large fry pan heat oil and saute onions, peppers and garlic until they are lightly caramelized 5-7 minutes
  • Add in diced tomatoes. roasted vegetables, rest of seasonings and 1-1/2 cups tomato sauce (room temperature). Save rest of sauce for another dish. 
  • Simmer on low uncovered for 15 minutes.
  • Sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top to serve.
I always enjoy reading and trying recipes from The author posts points for the recipes based on the Weight Watchers program. 
Baked Ratatouille with Havarti Cheese sure looked delicious.

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