I share a lot of recipes on this blog. I know that, and I choose to believe that’s why you awesome readers keep coming back. The recipes I share tend to be my latest culinary experiments: new ideas I’ve had, or things I’ve stumbled across while perusing Pinterest. Yet, there are many things I make that are tried and true staples, things I don’t need a recipe for, the flavors of my childhood. For whatever reason, these meals never really cross my mind to share with you. I guess I think of them as sort of mundane and everyday. However, they are some of my favorite foods. And this ratatouille is definitely on that list!
When my sister and I were little, we had a huge vegetable garden in the backyard. At least, it seemed huge to our elementary school selves. We grew (or at least tried to grow) everything you could imagine: peppers, squash, tomatoes, eggplant, green beans, corn, pumpkins…it was awesome! My mom would take us outside in the late afternoon in the summer, and we’d pick what was freshest to eat with dinner. I think that’s where this recipe really came from: a way to use up the abundant produce we had in the garden.
Even after we moved and our soil was full of sand and clay and made our vegetable garden a fond memory, this meal continued to be a favorite as we would stop by farmer’s markets and pick up whatever looked good. And, honestly, that’s the beauty of this dish. You can put in whatever produce looks best and it will turn out delicious every time. I’ve stirred in fresh greens at the ends, and cooked down chopped tomatoes instead of using the can. Have fresh herbs? Throw them into the pot! Seriously, you cannot make a mistake with this. I will often omit the chicken, but didn’t this time since leading up Ash Wednesday and the start of meatless Fridays, my husband was trying to bulk up on meat stuffs. But really, the veggies are the starring role of this dish!
Chicken Ratatouille with Pasta
- Olive oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- ½ lb boneless, skinless chicken breast, cut into 1” cubes
- 1 bell pepper, chopped
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced
- 1 small eggplant, chopped
- 4 – 8 oz sliced mushrooms
- 1 28 oz can tomato puree
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- 1 tsp dried parsley
- 1 tsp dried basil
- ½ tsp garlic powder
- Red pepper flakes, to taste
- Pasta (I used Trader Joe’s Brown Rice Pasta)
- Heat olive oil over medium heat. Sauté onions until they start to get fragrant.
- Add chicken, and brown on the outside on all sides, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in pepper, zucchini, eggplant, and mushrooms, and sauté for about a minute.
- Stir in tomato puree and spices. Bring to a simmer, and cook for 15 – 20 minutes, until the chicken is fully cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
- Serve over pasta, with cheese if desired.