The post title refers partly to the 2007 computer animated Pixar-Disney film, Ratatouille, which starred Remy, a Parisian rate interested in cooking. This is a fun movie for all ages.
But it's really about Ratatouille, a vegetable stew that aside from Gazpacho (a soup made from raw veggies and served cold). And, it's one of the best ways to use an abundance of summer vegetables, your own or ones gifted by friends with overflow gardens.
Not only is this a great-tasting meal, but it's also good for you (imagine that). Over the years, I've tried various versions, most required some form of stove top cooking, but this recipe differed — veggies were cut up, seasoned and broiled before being added to the crock pot. The result was they held up better even after several hours in the crock pot. And, to give credit where due, this adapted version is from Cook's Country (Aug/Sep 2013).
Slow Cooker Ratatouille
- 2 lbs eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2-3 zucchini (about 8 oz. ea) quartered lengthwise and cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 red bell peppers, stemmed, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 2 onions, roughly chopped
- 6 TBSP extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 TBSP sugar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp Herbs de Provence *
- 28 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
- 1/4 C all purpose flour
- Salt & pepper
- 1/4 C grated Parmesan cheese (or a blend of grated Italian cheeses)
- 1/4 C chopped fresh basil
- Adjust oven rack 4 inches from broiler element and heat broiler. If your oven has different broiler heat settings, set it to medium (which varies if you have an electric vs. gas oven). Line backing sheet(s) or a large broiler pan bottom with foil (easier cleanup). In a large bowl, combine all the veggies also olive oil, sugar, garlic, Herbs de Provence. Toss until mixed and combined.
- Divide vegetables evenly between prepared sheets (or single large sheet) and spread into a single layer (mine overlapped a bit). Broil until vegetables begin to brown, about 10 minutes or faster if your broiler has only 1 heat setting, which is very hot). While vegetables are broiling, turn a couple of times to evenly cook. When done, transfer to crock pot and add drained tomatoes.
- Stir flour, 2-1/2 tsp salt, 1 tsp pepper into slow cooker. Cover and cook until vegetables are tender (about 4 hours on LOW). Stir in balsamic vinegar, cheese, and basil. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste. Yield: about 8 cups.
No need to serve with a side salad as this dish is loaded with veggies. However, some crusty bread makes a perfect accompaniment. Leftovers are delicious too, hot or cold.