Penne with Ratatouille
The flavors of this rustic Provençal stew mingle perfectly in the gentle heat of a slow cooker. This recipe yields enough ratatouille for dinner tonight plus leftovers to create two additional meals (see related recipes at left). Let the remaining ratatouille cool to room temperature. Store in airtight containers or heavy-duty sealable plastic bags in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 2 months.
For the ratatouille:
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 4 yellow onions, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves, chopped
- 10 plum tomatoes, halved, seeded and cut into chunks
- 6 zucchini, cut into chunks
- 2 eggplants, trimmed and cut into chunks
- 3 large red bell peppers, seeded and cut into chunks
- 1/2 cup vegetable broth
- 1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
- 1 tsp. minced fresh oregano
- 2 tsp. plus 2 Tbs. salt, plus more, to taste
- 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper, plus more, to taste
- 1 lb. penne
Make the ratatouille
In a large fry pan over medium heat, warm the olive oil. Add the onions and garlic and sauté until tender but not brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker. Add the tomatoes, zucchini, eggplants, bell peppers, broth, thyme, oregano, the 2 tsp. salt and the 2 tsp. pepper to the slow cooker. Stir to combine. Cover and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 8 hours according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Set aside 2 cups of the ratatouille, and store the rest for later use (see note above).
Cook the pasta
Bring a large pot of water to a boil over high heat. Add the 2 Tbs. salt and the pasta. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking, according to the package instructions until al dente (tender but firm to the bite). Drain the pasta, return it to the pot and toss with the 2 cups ratatouille. Adjust the seasonings with salt and pepper and serve immediately. Serves 4; makes 12 cups ratatouille total.
Adapted from Williams-Sonoma Food Made Fast Series, Slow Cooker, by Norman Kolpas (Oxmoor House, 2007).