You may well remember my capsicum crisis? Well, it is starting to abate now, thanks to a change in the weather that has made it a lot cooler than it was, so the capsicums plants I have are now finishing up. There's probably still a good fortnight or so worth of capsicums left, though, and after giving them away left-right-and-centre last weekend I still had a bunch in the fridge, so decided to make ratatouille, as suggested by Carly from Peacefully Chaotic.
The ratatouille recipe I ended up making was a combination of the one suggested by Carly and one I have here at home in a recipe book. For example, Carly's recipe called for a bay leaf, which I replaced with a sprig of rosemary as I prefer the taste; and the ratatouille recipe from my book at home didnt have butternut pumpkin (which I love), but Peacefully Chaotic's did, so I included it.
Anyhow, to follow is the ratatouille recipe I threw together, which made enough to serve 4 people. It was served with warm, fresh bread just out the oven, spread with a generous amount of butter.
1 medium eggplant, roughly chopped
1 large zucchini, roughly chopped
1/3 cup olive oil
2 onions, sliced
2 garlic cloves, chopped
2 medium red capsicums (bell peppers), seeded and chopped
3 medium green capsicums (bell peppers), seeded and chopped
1 cup diced butternut pumpkin
Spring of fresh rosemary
Spring of fresh thyme
1 tspn dried coriander leaves
3 large plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
Fresh basil leaves, torn
Salt and pepper
1. Place chopped eggplant and zucchini in a colander and sprinkle with salt, using a plate and a weight on top to extract the bitter juices. Let sit for at least 30 minutes then drain away the juices.
2. Heat olice oil in a large pot, add the onions and sweat them for approximately 5 minutes (do not brown). Add the garlic and cook for another 2 minutes.
3. Rinse the eggplant and zucchini and pat dry with a clean towel. Add to the pot with the capsicums and pumpkin, increase the heat and saute until the peppers are just turning brown.
4. Add the sprigs of herbs and dried coriander leaves, then cover the pot and cook gently for at least 20 minutes.
5. Add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper. Cook gently for a further 10 minutes, until the vegetables are soft by not too mushy. Remove the sprigs of herbs and stir in torn basil leaves.
6. Let cool slightly and serve warm or cold, on a bed of pasta, rice or with bread, and garnish with a sprig of thyme, parsley or basil.
Thanks again to Carly at Peacefully Chaotic for this suggestion! Both SJ and I enjoyed it immensely, and I got to use up a handful of capsicums in the process. When served warm it makes a great winter food!
Thanks also to everyone who left recipes for me to try in response to my capsicum crisis. If I get enough red capsicums out of the remaining plants I will try the red pepper soup, and if there are any capsicums left over at the end of the season I will pickle them in balsamic vinegar.