Category Archives: zucchini

Ratatouille, MadrileƱo-style

I’ve loved ratatouille ever since I studied abroad, when Esperanza, the woman I lived with in Madrid, introduced me to it. I recently came across this recipe on Smitten Kitchen that looked like fun, and decided to adapt it. I wanted to make this a full dinner, so after a little debate, I settled on chickpeas to add protein, feeling inspired by another dish Esperanza used to make, chickpeas cooked in a tomato sauce. And the best part is, as impressive as it looks when it’s finished, it took me 30 minutes to get it completely prepped and into the oven.

Recipe: Ratatouille MadrileƱo-style
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen‘s “Ratatouille’s Ratatouille”

1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced, then chopped
14-oz can diced tomatoes
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant, if you like. I didn’t have one, so I skipped the eggplant altogether.
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow squash
1 red bell pepper (look for one of the longer, thinner ones)
1 14-0z can garbanzo beans
Whatever herbs you have around -I was out of fresh and used “italian seasoning” herb mix – rosemary, thyme and oregano.
Salt and pepper

Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees.

Pour the tomatoes into a baking dish (mine was about 9×13) and mash with a wooden spoon or potato masher, just to break the large pieces into smaller ones and release some pulp. Mix in the chopped onion, garlic and one tablespoon of olive oil.

Next, slice the squash, zucchini and red pepper. I used the slicer on a box grater to speed up the slicing of the squash and zucchini. Slice the pepper as thinly as possible.

Next, start building your dish. Begin in one corner of the baking dish and start stacking the vegetables, one of each kind, then repeating, overlapping them so that only a small amount of the previous vegetable shows.

Continue around the corner. I ended up cutting a bunch of my pepper slices in half to make it fit better. At the end, when you’ve gone all the way around, you may want to add in more pieces if you have leftover and there seems to be space.

Fill the center of the dish with chickpeas. Sprinkle the remaining olive oil over all the vegetables, and salt and pepper the whole dish. Add the herbs. If you are using dry herbs, as I did, crush the flakes in the palm of your hand before adding them; this releases the flavors.

Cover the whole dish with tinfoil and bake 50 minutes. The mixture will be bubbly and the vegetables should look cooked but not limp. Serve over rice, making sure to spoon the tomato sauce in the bottom of the dish over the ratatouille. Bon apetit!

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"I didn’t know I liked zucchini" Mac & Cheese

This is one of my staple summer recipes, for a quick meal when zucchini is available in abundance. While water is boiling for orzo, I shred (or chop) zucchini, and while the orzo cooks, saute the zucchini with lots of garlic and onion. By the time the pasta is ready, the veggies are too. Mix them together, add a generous pour of extra virgin olive oil and a few handfuls of shredded mozzarella, and serve. I’ve made a lot of variations on this – You can experiment with different pastas, mixing yellow summer squash with the zucchini, or adding leftover shredded chicken or crumbled bacon.

I originally got this recipe from Barbara Kingsolver’s great book, Animal Vegetable Miracle, which I recommend to anyone interested in knowing more about where their food comes from and what to do with it. You can see the recipe on her site here.