EGGPLANT, ZUCCHINI, AND TOMATO CASSEROLE (RATATOUILLE) – PROVENÇAL STYLE

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Since this is the time of year when zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes are in every farmer’s market or home garden in America, I decided to post an absolutely delicious way to serve these delightful vegetables. (And I know what you are thinking. Not another zucchini recipe. But if I may speak frankly, this is not just another zucchini recipe. This is a killer way to use zucchini if I say so myself!)

This dish came about because I started re-reading (for the third time, I think) Peter Mayle’s wonderful tale about the joys of living in Provence entitled “A Year in Provence”. For a foodie like myself, half the reading pleasure in this book is in the telling of the food they eat. So that got me researching recipes from the south of France. When I saw a variation of this dish using zucchini (I had 2 large zucchini in my refrigerator) and tomatoes (I had lots of cherry tomatoes from our garden), I decided I just had to work up a recipe that incorporated these two ingredients. And this recipe is the result.

This dish can be served as a meatless main course or as a side dish that compliments just about any meat you feel like serving. And it is easy to prepare. It takes a little time to cut up the veggies, but once you have the knife work done, the assembly goes rather quickly. I served it last evening with just a salad and it made for a perfect meal.

So if you too are looking for a way to say yes to your neighbor who keeps offering you zucchini, or if you yourself have zucchini threatening to take over your yard, give this recipe a try. Believe it or not, your love for this ever so easy to grow and abundant veggie will be restored with just one bite! In fact, you may never again have to turn down a free zucchini when a neighbor makes you an offer. And won’t that feel good. It’s the neighborly thing to do after all.

  • 2 T. extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tsp. dried marjoram
  • ½ c. dry white wine (I use Pinot Grigio)
  • kosher salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 lb. zucchini or yellow summer squash, sliced lengthwise ¼-inch thick (combination is nice)
  • 1 medium sized eggplant, partially peeled and sliced lengthwise ¼-inch thick
  • 1 basket of cherry tomatoes, halved or 2 large beefsteak tomatoes, sliced ¼ inch thick
  • 2 T. chopped parsley
  • 3/4 c. finely grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese (combination is wonderful)

Heat the oil in a skillet to medium-high. Add the onion and sauté until transparent. Stir in the garlic and marjoram and cook for 1 minute. Add the white wine and cook until the liquid evaporates. Season with salt and pepper; remove from the heat.

Oil a 9-by-13-inch ceramic or glass baking dish. Arrange half of the zucchini on the bottom of the dish (single layer if possible but a little overlap is fine), drizzle with oil and season lightly with salt and pepper. Scatter half of the onion mixture on top, followed by half of the eggplant. Drizzle the eggplant with oil, season lightly with salt and pepper and sprinkle with half of the parsley. Arrange half of the tomatoes cut side down over the zucchini. Repeat the layering finishing with a drizzle of oil and a light seasoning of salt and pepper.

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Bake the vegetables uncovered in a pre-heated 400 degree oven for 70-75 minutes. Sprinkle with cheese and continue baking until the edges are browned, the vegetables are very tender, and the cheese is melting and starting to brown, about 10 minutes more. Let cool for about 5 minutes before serving.

Please let me know if you like this recipe. Thanks