I love this stoup (kind of a cross between a soup and a stew). The good thing about it, is you can use whatever fresh fall veggies you have on hand. I've made some other ratatouille recipes before and they were more of a chunky roasted veggie mix, whereas this one is more of a liquidy stew. My kids ate it the last time I made it, but Matt told me yesterday that he has decided he doesn't like tomatoes anymore....kids (insert rolling eyes here!)
Here is the recipe I followed last night:
1 large onion, diced
4 cloves of garlic, minced
Kosher salt & pepper
1 small eggplant, diced
1 zucchini, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes (San Marzano are the best, but any will do)
2 cups low-sodium chicken or veg broth
handful of fresh basil leaves (I grow my own)
1 cup grated gruyere, Swiss, mozzarella or fontinella cheese
The original recipe calls for 3-4 tsp of herbes de Provence (a blend of savory, fennel, thyme and basil) but you can use your favorite seasonings (I used fresh basil, dried parsley, thyme and Old Bay)
You could also add other items such as mushrooms, squash or other root veggies. I happened to have an extra leek on hand, so I threw that in too.
1. Heat about 3 Tbsp of EVOO in a large pot over medium heat. Add onion and garlic and cook 3 minutes. Add seasonings and 1 tsp salt. Add eggplant, zucchini and bell pepper and cook, stirring, 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, the broth and a handful of basil. Boil, then reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes.
2. Preheat broiler. Brush olive oil on your baguette, sprinkle with herbs. Broil until lightly toasted. Top with cheese, then broil until melted.
3. Puree about half of the soup. You can use a blender (which I've done before when making creamy soups - but it's messy). This time I used my immersion blender (see pic below). It's much easier to clean. I use this when I make salsa too, because my sister, Jackie, does not like chunky salsa (I do), and it breaks it up nicely.
4. If using a blender, return the pureed soup to the pot. If using a handblender, just whip it for a few seconds, so half is pureed and half is chunky. Season with salt and pepper. Ladle into bowls and top with cheese toasts.
I also decided to make a Halloween dessert last night. I'll post that recipe tomorrow.
Yesterday I volunteered in Lil's classroom to work on a pumpkin project. Aren't these first graders cute?