Believed to originally hail from Provence, France, ratatouille is a classic meal that exquisitely displays the bounty of summer. With some recipes calling for only tomatoes and squash, and some insisting on the use of Herbes de Provence, the dish greatly varies depending on the source. Though generally considered a staple of rural Provençal cuisine, there are many versions of this recipe found throughout the Mediterranean: Catalonia, Turkey and Greece, all have their own variations marrying the bright, flavorful produce of summer with earthy olive oil and spicy garlic.
This twist on ratatouille becomes extra summery by grilling the produce rather than stewing on the stove or baking in the oven. In addition, adding pasta and serving this dish cold rather than hot allows you to enjoy this meal even on the most sweltering of days. It’s easy to pack and take on a hike, or bring to the beach with a chilled, dry rosé. While ratatouille dates back hundreds of years, it’s present day popularity proves this recipe is both satisfying and timeless. No matter what version you decide to prepare, you will be able to taste the vibrancy of summer produce in every bite.
Ratatouille Pasta Salad
Total time: 1 hour
Makes four servings
In my Basket:
2 medium Beefsteak Tomatoes, about 1.5 lbs (from Cretinon’s Farm, Kingston MA)
1 medium Summer Squash, about 12 oz (from Cretinon’s Farm, Kingston MA)
1 medium Zucchini, about 12 oz (from Cretinon’s Farm, Kingston MA)
2 Anaheim Peppers, about 5 oz (from Cretinon’s Farm, Kingston MA)
1 medium or 2 small Sweet Onions (from Cretinon’s Farm, Kingston MA)
1 medium Eggplant, about 1.5-2 lbs (from Holly Hill Farm, Scituate MA)
2 large cloves of Garlic (from Colchester Farm, Plympton MA)
8 oz Ziti, about 2.5 oz per person (from Brattleboro Co-op, Brattleboro VT)
1/3 cup Fresh Basil Leaves (from River Street Gardens, Halifax MA)
1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil, plus a little extra to grease the grill and drizzle over the vegetables (from Brattleboro Co-op, Brattleboro VT)
1 cup Asiago cheese (from Foxboro Cheese Co., Foxboro MA)
From the Pantry:
2 tbsp Herbes de Provence (savory, basil, rosemary, thyme, and oregano)
Salt and pepper to taste
- Wash and dry fresh produce. Trim the ends from zucchini, squash and eggplant. Slice crosswise into 1/2 inch discs. Peel onion and slice crosswise into 1/2 inch discs. Cut peppers in half lengthwise and remove seeds and stems. Remove core from tomatoes, trim off ends and then slice in half crosswise. Peel garlic cloves and leave whole. Chiffonade or chop basil leaves. Grate cheese, set aside.
- Lay out produce on baking sheet. Drizzle with EVOO, salt, pepper and Herbs de Provence (or whichever herbs you’re using).
- Prepare grill by turning it to high and letting it heat up. When the grill is hot, use the grill brush to remove any food remnants. Then dip a paper towel in EVOO and rub it all over the grill, being careful not to let the paper towel catch on fire.
- Once the grill is hot, clean and oiled, place the first batch of produce on the grill (I have a small grill. If yours can accommodate all the produce at once – go for it!). Let produce cook for 4 minutes and turn. Wait another 4 minutes and remove the produce. If necessary, execute 2nd batch of produce in the same fashion. Let cool completely.
- In a small bowl, add both garlic cloves and a pinch of salt, and mash until you have a garlic paste. Add garlic paste to EVOO and mix.
- Bring 3 quarts of salted water to a boil. Add pasta. Cook for about 10 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Strain pasta and toss in garlic paste. Set aside.
- When produce is cooled, chop into 1/2 inch cubes. Once the pasta has cooled, combine all ingredients in a bowl and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with cheese and basil.
- Enjoy! And remember, when you get to the hard part; that’s the plate.
Jessica Ann Mandelbaum has been eating her way around New England for the past four years. When Jessica’s not writing about the multi-sensory perception of flavor or force-feeding loved ones her various kitchen creations, she can be found practicing yoga, gardening, reading, hiking, or spending quality time with her dog-daughter.