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Ratatouille

Ratatouille is the sunset of summer dishes made with a kaleidoscope of end-of-season vegetables, held together with a fair amount of that bottled sunshine, olive oil. Eggplants, zucchini, onions, and red peppers are abundant during this time and early fall. I have been in the throes of ratatouille making for the past couple of weeks, testing different approaches and sipping a fair amount of rosé while doing so. 

It is just as delicious served warm, room temperature, or even cold. It can elevate your buffet game and is great to bring for a summer potluck. It can be a vegetarian main, a side dish, or a spread for crackers. The point is, the dish is so versatile it can cover a lot of ground, is super tasty, and worth adding to your kitchen repertoire.

Ratatouille takes a little time if you want to build the flavors, but the rewards are big.  Taking a cue from Rebekah Peppler’s book À Table, my recipe uses a bit of that other summer sunshine, our Napa Valley Rosé. This ratatouille pairs well with our 2021 Gentleman Farmer Napa Valley Rosé; however, this also works well with a white or red wine. Ratatouille doesn’t judge, but I’m drinking rosé, so I’ll lean into that.

Ingredients

Equipment

Chef Knife
Cutting board
Colander
Large skillet
Large bowl

Ingredients

1 pound eggplant, cut into ½-inch cubes
Kosher salt
Cracked black pepper
About ⅔ cup extra-virgin olive oil, divided, plus more if needed
2 medium yellow onions, cut into ½-inch cubes
2 medium red bell peppers, cut into ½-inch cubes
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 medium zucchini, cut into ½-inch cubes
4 tomatoes, about 1 pound, cut into ½-inch pieces
5 large full basil sprigs, stems and leaves
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
⅓ cup rosé
Olive oil for garnish

How To Make

1
Assemble ingredients.
2
Place colander over a metal bowl to catch weeping juices. Place eggplant in colander, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons salt, toss to combine, and let rest 30 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
3
Pat eggplant dry with paper towels. Heat ¼ cup of olive oil in the large skillet over medium heat. Working in batches, cook the eggplant till tender, about 10 minutes. Add additional oil if needed to prevent sticking. With a slotted spoon, transfer eggplant to a large bowl.
4
Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the same skillet over medium heat. Add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is translucent and a little amber, about 12 minutes. To build flavor, onions like to cook low and slow. The goal here is to develop the sugars from the inside out and not to brown the onions’ exterior. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon cracked black pepper. Add the bell pepper and continue to cook for an additional ten minutes, or until the onions are amber and the peppers are soft. Add garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the bowl with the eggplant.
5
Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the same skillet over medium heat. Add the zucchini. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally until zucchini is ever-so-lightly browned and soft, about 12 minutes. Adjust heat as necessary. Remove with a slotted spoon and transfer to the bowl with the eggplant, onion, and pepper.
6
Add two tablespoons of olive oil to the same skillet over medium heat. Add the tomatoes, basil sprigs, and pepper flakes. Season with ¼ teaspoon salt. Cook, stirring occasionally, until much of the tomato juices have evaporated, about 15 minutes. Add rosé and cook to reduce, about three minutes. Return the bowl of cooked vegetables back to the large skillet, stir, and cook for an additional five minutes to combine and meld. Remove from heat and allow to cool slightly.
7
Serve with crusty bread and a drizzle of very good olive oil.

2020 Napa Valley Chardonnay

Farmed by direct descendants of naturalist and conservationist John Muir.

2021 Rosé

The 2021 Rosé is a vibrant, fuscia. It shows bold notes of wild strawberries, ruby red grapefruit, and Campari.