A One-Skillet Recipe for All Your Summer Veggies: RATATOUILLE

imageAre you looking for a great way to use up all of those summer vegetables? Ratatouille is your dish! A creamy tomato sauce is the perfect base for all of those fresh veggies and herbs. Plus, if you make it with Italian sausage like I do, it’s a complete meal in ONE skillet IN TWENTY MINUTES! It has been known to entice a little farmhand to eat their veggies, too… just sayin’!

Ratatouille Veggies

Typically a ratatouille recipe calls for onions, bell peppers, garlic, eggplant, zucchini, and summer squash. But I say use whatever you have on hand! Take care not to over cook the vegetables, though. They only need a couple minutes of cooking due to their high water content. Also, leaving the skin on helps give the vegetables added texture.

WIBW Ratatouille

The Brown County Fair is coming up next week in Horton!

We visited with Brown County 4-H representatives on WIBW this morning. They are gearing up for the Brown County Fair next week (July 11th-15th), but reminded us that 4-H is more than just cows and cooking! 4-H’ers from around the state learn a lot about public speaking, giving presentations, creating projects from a variety of media. They photograph, they build, they grow, they show, and along the way they learn invaluable life skills.

One of my favorite part of the county fair is seeing all of the produce these kids grow at home. Prize-winning vegetables and fruits that will make any summer dinner table beautiful… just like the Ratatouille Recipe below.

Ratatouille Collage

Taking time to slowly brown off your tomato paste in this recipe definitely pays off. This single step guarantees a rich, deep flavor. Add broth as needed to keep the tomato paste from sticking to the bottom of your skillet, stirring often. And for a real treat, you can even MAKE YOUR OWN Italian Sausage! Here’s my favorite recipe.

Summer Ratatouille

1 lb. Italian sausage
1 tsp. dried oregano
1 red onion, diced
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
6 oz. can tomato paste
2-3 cups vegetable stock, divided use
1 zucchini, skin-on, sliced
1 yellow squash, skin-on, sliced
1 each sweet red and green bell peppers, seeds and membranes removed, diced
1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/4 cup fresh chopped basil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup shredded fresh Parmesan cheese

In a large seasoned cast iron skillet over medium high heat, cook sausage, oregano, and onion. When sausage is fully cooked, use paper towels to remove most of the fats from the pan, then add garlic to the sausage mixture and cook 1-2 minutes longer; remove ingredients from pan and set aside.

Add tomato paste to drippings in skillet and cooking, stirring often over medium heat, until tomato paste is nicely browned, adding broth as needed to keep tomato paste from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Stir in vegetables and cook until hot throughout, adding more broth, if needed to incorporate tomato paste evenly.

Return reserved sausage mixture to the vegetables in the pan and simmer over medium heat for a couple of minutes. Top with parsley and basil, then sprinkle Parmesan over all and serve at once.

Summer Ratatouille Tasting

This recipe makes everyone want to dig in!

Now You’re Cookin’,
Chef Alli

**This recipe was featured as part of Chef Alli’s Farm Fresh Kitchen on WIBW 13 News, July 2016. Special thanks to the farmers and ranchers of the Kansas Farm Bureau for making this segment possible!

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