“So Long, Summer” Ratatouille: Queen of the Fall Garden Melange

Ratatouille has so many things going for it, it’s no wonder that nearly everybody has a favorite recipe for it. Oh, you don’t, Gentle Reader? Well! You’ve come to the right place today, then! This traditional French Provencal vegetable dish is deliciously versatile and can be eaten as a stew, a pizza topping, a pasta topping, or an accompaniment with steamed fish or chicken. It can be eaten cold out of its plastic leftover container, standing in the warm light of the open ‘fridge door. It can be toted to work with some leftover steamed rice and heated up in the office microwave and eaten in front of drooling co-workers. It can be shmeared on a cracker and eaten sitting in the yard. When I say versatile, I mean versatile. Did I mention that it is easy to pull together with the simplest kitchen tasks–chopping, sauteing, tasting, and stewing. An infant could make it. Almost.

I know you’re thinking about the movie. So am I. When I kept talking about ratatouille yesterday, this is where the conversation invariably went.

Me: (announcing to the kids) “I’m going out to the hoop house to pick eggplants and zucchinis for the ratatouille that I’m going to make tonight . . .”

Amalia: “Ratatouille! I love that movie; we should watch it again sometime!”

Mack: “I’ll help you. If I can drive the tractor. Can I drive the tractor? And what’s rata-whatee?”

Little Mack got his wish: he was the tractor driver, hauling our goodies back to the house, under Ollie's watchful eye.

Little Mack got his wish: he was the tractor driver, hauling our goodies back to the house, under Ollie’s watchful eye.

And later:

Me: “Amalia, want to help me chop veg for the ratatouille?”

Amalia: “Ratatouille! I love that movie; can we watch it sometime soon?”

Mack: “I’ll help. If I can use the biggest, sharpest knife. Can I, Mom? What’s rata-whatsit?”

Suppertime:

Me: “So how do you guys like the ratatouille?”

Amalia: “Ratatouille! I just love that movie, let’s find it and watch it this weekend!”

Mack: “I’m full. I’m not hungry. What–is–rata–what??”

Our raw ingredients for Ratatouille and my little boy's feet

Our raw ingredients for Ratatouille and my little boy’s feet and his little pocket saw, which he thought should be included in the photo.

So the movie is probably better-known in our home than the dish, this much is painfully obvious. However–I have awesome ratatouille-inspired news, anyway–nearly everything that goes into this fabulous dish is available in the o’er burdened fall garden, or at your farmer’s market, where your local farmers perhaps have just another week or two to unload all these glorious veg. Check out this delicious lineup: eggplant (aubergine, as the Brits and the French call them), zucchini (or courgette. . ), onions and garlic, tomatoes–let’s see, what else–carrots, sweet peppers, herbs, and so forth. I even will toss in a lemon squash or two, for a bit of color.

Sound good?

So for no reason at all, I will subname this dish the Queen of the Fall Garden Melange! When you’ve got buckets and baskets and boxes of recently-saved-but just-barely-from-the-hard-freeze last night, and wondering just how long they’ll last (not as long as you might hope) and you’ve still got a bit of room in your freezer (just a bit) this is what you should make. Really. It’s delicious for dinner, and then you can sock away the leftovers in the freezer for winter meals, so let’s do it, okay?

See? See? Delish-o-rama!!

See? See? Delish-o-rama!!

5.0 from 4 reviews
"So long, summer" Ratatouille
Author: 
Recipe type: end of summer harvest surplus extravaganza
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8-10
 
This is the perfect dish to whip up when the frost has left you with a plethora of garden veg to use up! It's wonderful eaten so many ways, and it freezes beautifully, as well, in containers or bags.
Ingredients
  • 6 Tb olive oil
  • 6-8 garlic cloves, smashed and diced
  • 6 pounds ripe tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 6 carrots, chopped
  • 8 bell peppers, mix or colors, natch'
  • 4 lbs eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 4 medium zucchinis, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • 2 medium summer squash, cut into 1-inch cubes
  • ½ cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, roughly chopped
  • ½ cup fresh basil, roughly chopped
  • Salt and pepper, freshly ground, to taste
Instructions
  1. Heat 2 Tb olive oil in large saucepan, add garlic and saute for 30 seconds or so.
  2. Add tomatoes, bring to a boil and lower heat, simmer until sauce thickens, 15 min+.
  3. In a large pot, heat remaining 4 Tb oil over medium heat. Add onions and carrots. Saute until onions are translucent, about 5 min. Add peppers and eggplant and continue sauteeing until eggplant begins to soften. Add zukes and squash and cook just until they are barely soft. Add tomatoes, herbs and cook for another 5 min to combine the flavors nicely. Taste and add salt and pepper judiciously. Serve with rice, pasta, steamed chicken or fish, grated parmesan cheese or what-have-you. Just serve!

Sound good? That’s because it IS good. Actually, great. Now make some up for your family, rent the movie, and enjoy both concurrently.

Bon appetit, mes cheris!

A little boy and his tractor is a happy duo.

A little boy and his tractor is a happy duo.

I’ll be linking this post up with The Prairie Homestead and Frugally Sustainable, and you’re always welcome to jump in and enjoy the other links on those really awesome websites!

6b9f70d7cfbcafffd9c51c8edbf0e088Hey, here’s something new! Click on it if you want to learn more about being a Food Renegade! And thanks to Delicious Obsessions for letting me tag along on their real food carnival event! Also I’m linking up with the fun ladies over at the Home Matters Linky Party! Come see!

13 thoughts on ““So Long, Summer” Ratatouille: Queen of the Fall Garden Melange

  1. Anita-Clare Field

    I LOVE Ratatouille, my mothers is absolutely heaven sent and this recipe looks so delicious as do the produce that are going into it. I have noted the comment from Caro above and promised faithfully to make it for her next week 🙂

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Anita-Clare, I noticed in your new cookbook “Flavours” that you have a recipe for Ratatouille. I think I’m going to have to make it to compare notes!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      I love that word “surfeit” Francene. You know, I think we’ve clearly established that you ought to move over here to Nebraska and I would share my surfeit with you!! I’d even share the little boy for small tractor-hauling chores. Bless you!

  2. Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A.

    Well, since my 5 kids are now grown (some married, all doing their own thing), that recipe will have to wait for a holiday when there will be enough folks around to devour it over a few days. That’s a mountain of a recipe- but it does seem glorious!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      5 kids, eh, Roy? My oldest son Matthew sent me an e-mail this morning with this line copied from a blog article: :”Having 6 children can be the mark of the eccentric or the genuis.” I think it clearly relates to having 5 children, too. 🙂

  3. Timothy Content Writer

    Great article!

    I love that movie as well.

    When I saw the URL of your website I was half-expecting to see something disgusting but this was a pleasant surprise! Nice tractor. I just noticed that there is no meat in that recipe.

    Looks delicious!

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Timothy,
      I’ve thought about changing the name of my blog, but it has one thing going for it: it’s memorable, and I guess a second factor is that it does tend to make people laugh. There’s no meat in that recipe, you’re right. We grow such a large garden that we eat lots of vegetarian meals, but this stew would taste great with some roasted chicken or even beef, I think, if you prefer to have some meat in your meal.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Yay! Let me know how you like it, Alana. I’m going to make more batches for the freezer, because it tastes so good now and I know when the winter is upon us it’ll be even better. 🙂

  4. Chef William

    We are big fans of Ratatouille, in my house, both the food and the movie. I spent a lifetime making sure that there were never any mice in my kitchen only to really enjoy the little guy in the movie after I retired. There were times that I kind of wished I had someone like him, under my chefs hat to lend a hand when I was a little behind schedule. So eat and enjoy and of course enjoy the movie again this weekend.

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