Sunday Night Dinner: Ratatouille

I can’t believe I’ve never made ratatouille before, especially after living with so many vegetarians last year (and this recipe is vegan)!  It’s seriously SO easy and SO delicious.  All you do is chop up a bunch of vegetables, throw them in a pot, and let them do their thing while you blog/do laundry/knit/Facebook.  Also, it’s the perfect meal for this time of year—a nice hot bowl of ratatouille, a crusty baguette, a warm blanket, and a book.  Sounds perfect 🙂

There’s also something comforting about this meal for me, which is weird because I’ve never had ratatouille before.  I have to say though that recently I’ve started to feel things kind of “click” here. Maybe I’ve just been in a good mood lately, but I’m finally feeling like I’m starting to establish myself the teensiest bit in Nice (but I don’t want to jinx it!).  I can get around without using a map, I’ve got friends to go out with, and I’m starting to think about the things I want to do when my parents come in December and Emily comes in March.  And the feeling all started this week with ratatouille, so I can tell this is going to become a comfort meal for me.

There’s not one “secret” ingredient this week, since I got all my vegetables at the market!


Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 35 minutes

2 tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 small eggplant
2 zucchinis
2 tomatoes
1 large green bell pepper
2-3 tsp herbes de provence (OR 2-3 tsp Italian seasoning OR 1 tsp dried basil + 1/2 tsp dried oregano + 1/2 tsp dried thyme + 1/2 tsp dried rosemary)
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Quarter and thinly slice the onion; mince the garlic; cube the eggplant and zucchini– try to make the sizes of the cubes as uniform as possible; remove the seeds from the tomatoes and roughly chop; roughly chop the bell pepper.


2. Heat the olive oil over medium heat in a large pot or Dutch oven.

3. Add the onions and garlic and cook, stirring often, until the onions are soft, about 6-7 minutes.
4. Add the eggplant and stir to coat with olive oil.
5. Add the zucchini and peppers, stir.


6. Cover and cook about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally to keep vegetables from sticking.

7. Add the tomatoes, herbs, salt, and pepper.

8. Cover and cook over low heat for about 20 minutes.  The eggplant should be tender but not too soft.
9. Serve hot.


This recipe made 2 servings (but I went back for seconds both times!)  Also, make sure you have a nice crusty baguette for afterwards to soak up all the juices.  Bon Appetit!

French word of the day:
comprimé (KO-pree-may)- pill, tablet
Il prend un comprimé contre le mal de tête.
He takes a pill for his headache.

Sunday Night Dinner: Aubergine

So I haven’t done too well at keeping up with writing this week, since I’m already at another SND, but this one is is a good one 🙂

This week’s ingredient: eggplant, or “aubergine” in French

2 small-medium sized eggplants

This week’s recipe: eggplant parmesan with a TWIST– layers of prosciutto (dry-cured ham) and mozarella cheese yummm.  I got the recipe here and made a few modifications:

Sliced prosciutto and mozarella

1/4 c vegetable oil (I actually used olive oil)
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp herbes de provence (a mixture of dried herbs typical of Provence, usually includes some combination of savory, fennel, thyme, basil, lavender, and sometimes other herbs– since most of my readers are probably not in Provence, Italian seasoning is a good substitute)
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
2 cups tomato sauce
(NOTE: the preceding 7 ingredients are for the sauce, but you could totally use a 16-20 oz jar of pasta sauce instead, just skip the instructions for making the sauce)

2 small-medium sized eggplants
1 egg
1/4 c milk
1 tsp vegetable oil
vegetable oil for frying
about 8 oz sliced mozarella cheese
about 4 oz sliced prosciutto
1/4 c parmesan cheese


For the sauce:
1. Heat the 1/4 c olive oil in a large skillet.
2. Add onions and garlic and saute over medium heat until the onions are soft, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the salt, pepper, herbes/seasoning, and tomato sauce.
4. Stir and simmer on low for 30 minutes.

For the rest of the dish:
1. Slice the eggplants in 1/4 inch to 1/2 inch slices (I got 12 slices out of 2 small eggplants).
2. In a bowl, beat the egg and add milk and 1 tsp veg oil.
3. Pour some flour in a separate bowl.
4. Dip each slice of eggplant in the flour, then in the egg mixture.  Let drain.

Sliced eggplants, flour, egg mixture, dipped eggplants

5. Heat about 2 tbsp veg oil in a frying pan over medium heat.
6. Fry each slice of eggplant on both sides until golden brown.

Eggplants frying and sauce simmering

7. Brush a 9″ x 13″ baking dish with veg oil.
8. Layer the eggplant, tomato sauce, prosciutto, and mozarella cheese slices in the pan.  Top with parmesan cheese.

Layer eggplants in pan, top with sauce, add slice of prosciutto, add slice of mozarella

9. Bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.

Before baking

10. Serve hot with spaghetti (and wine!)

This recipe was DELICIOUS.  Vegetarians can take out the prosciutto and it would still be awesome.  A 9″ x 13″ pan with 2 small-medium eggplants serves 4 hungry people, so I had plenty of leftovers.  I’d make 2 changes to this recipe though.  First, next time I’d 1.5 or double the amount of sauce the recipe makes.  It’s enough for the eggplant, but I like to have some sauce on my pasta, too, and there wasn’t quite enough for that.  Second, I’d cut up the prosciutto in smaller strips.  The cheese and the eggplant were easy to cut after being cooked, but the prosciutto was too tough.  Smaller pieces would make the dish stay together better, I think.

Happy eating! 🙂

Today’s French word is:
paner (PA-nay)- to coat with flour, beaten egg, and/or breadcrumbs
Coupez l’aubergine en tranches avant que vous la paniez.
Slice the eggplant before you coat it with flour, egg, and breadcrumbs.