12 August 2007

Frequent Your Local Farmer's Market...

Southern Italian Ratatouille Pasta
In the day I had a huge vegetable garden. I trained Scarlet runner beans and cucumbers to climb my arbour..... I weeded patiently between the rows of heirloom tomatoes and sweet basil..... Now I live in a condo, and although that has it's many advantages, I no longer have gardens to tend painstakingly. I now rely upon the expertise of my local farmers and fruit growers to supply my table with all the wonderful produce used in day to day cooking. Or the generosity of friends whose gardens are overflowing right now.

I acquired 4 rather large zucchini. While others are hiding the zucchini monsters their friends have generously given them from their overabundant crops I have chosen to embrace the humble zucchini and prepare some of my favourite dishes. You have already discovered my moist and delicious Chocolate Zucchini Cake and Zucchini Pie...so now on to Southern Italian Pasta Ratatouille!!!!

This will also be my first submission to Ruth's "Presto Pasta Night Roundup" over at Once Upon a Feast  . What better way to use up all this zucchini than in a ratatouille. Each week she has quite the lineup of innovative pasta dishes from other fellow bloggers.

**Southern Italian Ratatouille Pasta**
  • 3-1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 medium eggplants, peeled and cubed
  • 4 - 6 cloves garlic, skins remaining
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
  • 1-1/2 cups wild or domestic mushrooms, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1 medium yellow onion, diced
  • 2 medium red peppers, halved and seeded
  • 1-1/2 cups diced yellow zucchini, 1bout 1/2 lb), diced
  • 1-1/2 cups diced green zucchini (about 1/2 lb) diced
  • 1 (15 oz) can diced tomatoes or 3 - 4 peeled, fresh tomatoes, diced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chiffonade
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • 8 oz spaghetti
1. In medium bowl combine eggplant, , balsamic vinegar, 2 T olive oil, oregano and pepper. Mix thoroughly ands marinate in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

2. Preheat oven to 400F.

3. In baking pan place red pepper halves and garlic cloves. Remove marinated eggplant mixture from refrigerator and pour over peppers and garlic cloves in baking pan. Bake eggplant mixture in preheated 400F oven for 30 minutes. Stir periodically.

4. In a large pot of boiling salted water cook spaghetti until al dente. This will take about 8 - 10 minutes.

5. Meanwhile in a large skillet heat 1 T olive oil. Add diced onions and zucchini to skillet. Saute 5 minutes. To this mixture add sliced mushrooms and cook 2 minutes more. Add diced tomatoes.

6. Remove eggplant mixture from oven. Squeeze garlic from skins and add to mixture in skillet. These will be hot but try and break them up as much as possible. Remove slightly charred skin from sweet pepper and dice flesh. Add diced red peppers and roasted eggplant to mixture in skillet. Stir well. Simmer a few more minutes. Stir in chiffonade basil and chopped parsley at the last minute to retain freshness and colour.

7. Serve ratatouille over cooked spaghetti. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan,

Serves 4

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  1. It's so inspiring to go to the local market! I usually have to hold myself back and tell myself there is no WAY two people can eat than many vegetables!

  2. What a wonderful medley of delicious vegetables and mushrooms!

  3. I have the garden.... I wish I could just go to the market!
    But I know if I had the market I'd wish for the garden... Just no pleasing me (as my mother often says)
    Great looking pasta dish! I love veggie/pasta... makes me feel so healthy (and it tastes good!)

  4. Too funny that we both are into pasta with our fresh farm goodies! I am not a big fan of eggplant. Mine always seems bitter, or soggie, or the skin seems tuff. Any suggestions?

  5. Sounds like a great use of summer vegetables.

  6. I agree. I love farmer's markets. I try to go every week now.

  7. Farmer's markets are great! There is one that I try to do to which is only once a month and it has a lot of organic produce. Ratatouille & pasta - what a terrici idea!

  8. Not that I ever actually tended a garden, but I did have a back yard until just a short time ago. Now I'm in a cool condo and I love everything about it except for the fact that there is no backyard or deck...no grilling.

    Thanks for a great post and a terrific addition to Presto Pasta Night.


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