Remember when I was a vegetarian? That was silly.
Two years ago on Valentine’s Day I welcomed meat back into my life. Meat and I have had a very good relationship since then— He is kind of amazing. Yes, like in every relationship, there have been ups and downs… I won’t go into detail about the time you made me sick after I ate you raw one time as a burger… But you’ve made it up to me since then.
Since it is our two-year anniversary, I thought we should celebrate. I took my former, favorite, vegetarian dish and added you. You complete this dish like you complete me.
Happy Anniversary. May there be many more happy and fulfilling years to come.
I love Ratatouille (although I would probably like it a lot more if I had a mandoline so I could have perfectly uniform vegetables, but I won’t get too picky). It is an easy, fresh, and healthy meal to make during the weeknight that still tastes great as leftovers the next few days! Tender and juicy chicken baked in a tomato sauce with an assortment of vegetables cooked on top. What’s not to love?
Ratatouille’s Ratatouille recipe slightly adapted from Smitten Kitchen:
½ onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree (such as Pomi)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts
1 small eggplant (my store sells these “Italian Eggplant” that are less than half the size of regular ones; it worked perfectly)
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
Salt and pepper
Few tablespoons soft goat cheese, for serving
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and place on bottom of oval baking dish.
- Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, covering chicken, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.
- Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.
- On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.
- Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.
- Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle the fresh parsley over the dish.
- Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside. (Tricky, I know, but the hardest thing about this.)
- Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.
- Serve with a dab of soft goat cheese on top, alone, or with some crusty French bread, atop polenta, couscous, or your choice of grain.