The other day I was trying to think of something that would be reminiscent of eating some pasta with a nice sauce and yet a bit healthier than a big plate of pasta. Ratatouille came to mind — easy, simple ingredients and it warms from the inside out.
I also wanted something that looked really nice when it came out of the oven. There are times when you want your dish to be a banquet for the eyes as well as your tummy. I found just what I wanted on “Smittenkitchen.com” and if you see their photo and mine I think you will agree I hit it on the head. I was tempted to add more flavors or seasoning, but I reminded myself to just make it as it for the first time and adjust the next time.
Let me say now, no adjustments will be needed the next time with one exception. I might add a bit more sauce as it was a tad dry in some parts of the pan. The trick is to find that perfect space of moistness and delicious caramelization. A tough spot to find.
Once it was done, I served it over a bed of brown rice & quinoa. We like to mix the two. Oh and a quick word on quinoa. Even if you’re buying the ‘pre-washed’ kind — remember to rinse it well to ensure that there is no bitterness left. Quinoa has a coating on the outside that can be bitter so it’s best to be sure it is indeed washed off. We often add some minced garlic to the rice cooker if we are serving quinoa too, really adds something to the stuff.
This dish can be vegan or if you wish you can add that dollop of soft goat cheese on top of the serving — as a lover of cheese I can tell you it heats and melts down giving your plate an amazing kick up in texture and flavor. Keep in mind that if you decide to skip the cheese the flavor is still lovely and very satisfying. While I’m eating about 95 percent less cheese I’m still eating a bit here and there – I’ll get there, but for now the journey continues.
I should also point out that there will be leftover veggies. You can either make two of this dish or use the sliced veggies for something else. As for me, I put them all together with some tomato sauce and baked them till soft and served over brown rice the next night. At this point I’m still struggling to come up with quick new recipes so I tend to repeat things, but here it was not a problem as it was so tasty.