Friday, October 12, 2012

Crockpot Ratatouille

 I can still remember the first time I tasted eggplant.

I was in Rome on a senior trip with a bunch of my friends -- it was one of those trips organized through the school, so all of our dinners and breakfasts were arranged for us. We walked and walked and walked and walked until we got to this restaurant, where they served a pasta dish of some sort with a tomato-based sauce. The moment I tasted it, I knew something was not right. There was this slimy texture going on, and a bitter aftertaste.

It was eggplant.

I know, I know. I recently poked fun at my husband for his list of dislikes, but I must now admit that I have one of my own, and eggplant tops that list. Tops it.

Hubby and I both have an unspoken rule that we have to keep trying things we don't like, because you never know when you might change your mind, you know? So in that spirit, I have tried egggplant parmesan, babba ganoush, roasted eggplant, blah blah blah.

I don't like it. What can I say more?

So when I found a promising recipe for ratatouille, I knew for sure eggplant was out of the question. With my surplus of summer squash, though, it was easy to sub in some yellow straightneck in its place.

It was perfect! A perfect meal for transitioning from summer into fall. Perfect for a Sunday dinner, but without a whole lot of fuss or effort. And even though it is now fall for real, I bet there's some straggling summer squash in the markets, and deliciousness is still a year-round concept. So what are you waiting for?

Crockpot Ratatouille
adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

2 medium zucchini, diced in 1/2" pieces
2 yellow summer squash, diced in 1/2 " pieces
1 c. onion, finely chopped
6 cloves garlic, minced
6 tomatoes, diced in 1/2" pieces
1 yellow pepper, diced in 1/2" pieces
1 red pepper, diced in 1/2" pieces
1 tsp. sugar
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 Tbsp. olive oil
small sprig rosemary
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh savory
3 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
(you could use any fresh herbs that appeal to you)
salt and pepper to taste
couscous cooked according to package directions (I used whole wheat)

In the crock of your slow cooker, combine zucchini, yellow squash, onion, tomatoes, peppers, sugar, oregano, and olive oil. Throw in a hefty pinch of salt, and a skiffing of ground pepper, along with your whole sprig of rosemary. Mix gently to combine. Cook on low for 3-4 hours, or until vegetables are tender.
Stir in fresh herbs, taste and adjust seasonings, adding more salt and pepper as needed. Serve over prepared couscous.

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