inspired by: comfort
Some days call for comfort food more than others. Something to warm your stomach and your soul. Ratatouille has been on my mind for a couple of weeks, and the thought of warm vegetables nestled in tomato sauce sounded like just the thing to get cozy with on a Monday night.
Over the weekend Brent and I made a day out of going to the farmers market at PSU. I worked on Saturdays up until recently (as in really recently – this was my first Saturday off!), so this was our first time at the farmers market together. We walked around the market and the city for four hours, and came away with a respectable haul that included just what we needed to make ratatouille: bell peppers, purple potatoes, yellow squash, and zucchini.
Traditional ratatouille calls for eggplant, but we decided to replace the purple hued ingredient with potatoes for a couple of reasons:
- Brent’s excitement upon finding purple potatoes at the farmer’s market; and
- Potatoes are one of my ultimate comfort foods.
A brief anecdote about my lengthy history of potato love
When I was little, one of my family’s regular Big Family Outings was eating dinner at Hometown Buffet. Despite all the options, I was committed to filling my plate with three things: sliced ham, mashed potatoes, and french fries. Approximately 75% potatoes = Alexandra’s happy place.
So potatoes it was. We made a last-minute decision to add sweet potatoes as well. For a dish that has always seemed intimidating to me, ratatouille is delightfully easy to make. We split up the veggies and sliced away, cutting thin and as-even-as-possible slices (one day we’ll get a mandoline slicer). For the sauce, we adapted from The Fitchen’s recipe, since I can’t shouldn’t eat onions. Aside from removing the onions, we also added sage and turmeric. We blended the sauce and poured about ¾ on the bottom of our 12-inch cast iron pan. Then we layered the veggies – alternating between squash, zucchini, bell peppers, and potatoes – until we had spiraled all the way to the middle of the pan. We drizzled the last of the sauce on top and placed the cast iron in a 375° oven for just under an hour.
- 2 yellow squash
- 2 large zucchini
- 1 red bell pepper
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 6-8 small purple potatoes
Ratatouille sauce inspired by The Fitchen
3 cloves of garlic
- 1 red bell pepper
- 1 15-oz. can of diced tomatoes
- 1 tbsp. lemon juice
- 3 tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 2 tsp. freshly ground pepper
- 1 tsp. dried oregano
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. sage
- 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
- Preheat the oven to 375° F. Blend ingredients for sauce and pour ¾ of the sauce on the bottom of a 12” cast iron pan. Slice all the veggies into thin rounds. Create a spiral of alternating veggies in the cast iron, then drizzle remaining sauce on top. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until the smell is too enticing to wait any longer. Curl up with a blanket and maybe someone you love on the couch, tuck in, and enjoy.