Can anyone even hear the word “ratatouille” anymore without thinking of the Pixar movie? Or for that matter, did anyone know was Ratatouille was before that movie?
I’m not even sure if I can answer that question myself. I’ve been making ratatouille for years – ever since I found the recipe in one of my old cookbooks and thought it sounded good. That, and I was trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals into my diet…not because I wanted to be a vegetarian, but I was following a very clean diet at the time and was varying meat meals with vegetarian meals. Anyway. I was living overseas at the time and frankly I can’t remember which came first – finding the recipe, or seeing the movie.
It’s funny how even now sitting down with a bowl of ratatouille sparks memories of my various overseas homes. Whenever I was homesick for the States I’d make a huge pot of the thick vegetable stew and eat it with a sprinkling of shredded cheese and some crusty french bread and dream about Pennsylvania. Which is odd, considering we never ate ratatouille when I lived in PA – my father won’t touch eggplant, zucchini, peppers, or squash, and I didn’t ever make it when I was living by myself in PA…but for some reason, I equate the two.
I mentioned that traditional ratatouille is a vegetarian dish and that’s how I used to prepare it…before I married the consummate carnivore. I know Kevin would eat the vegetarian version if I served it to him, but I can pretty much guarantee that thirty minutes after dinner he’d be scrounging for some protein. So my easy solution to the problem was to toss in a pound of ground turkey to this dish – perfection!
This is another great one-pot meal to make on a cold night…and with the addition of the turkey, even the carnivores in your family will leave the table feeling full!
EASY TURKEY RATATOUILLE
prep time: 15 minutes (long enough to chop all your veggies)
cook time: 1 hour
1.5lbs ground turkey
1 eggplant, cut in chunks
2 green zucchini, cut in chunks
2 yellow squash, cut into chunks
1 onion, diced
2 bell peppers (I used one green and one red), cut into chunks
1 can diced tomatoes (no salt added)
1 jar tomato sauce (I used marinara)
2 cloves garlic, minced
your favorite red wine (optional)
your favorite italian seasonings (I used an italian herb blend, rosemary, thyme and basil)
chipotle chili powder (optional)
Heat approximately 2 tbsp oil in a dutch oven over medium high heat. Add onion and garlic and sautee until translucent. Add your turkey to the pan and brown. Add eggplant, squash, bell pepper, and zucchini and cook until the vegetables are starting to get tender. Add diced tomatoes, seasonings, tomato sauce and a splash of red wine (if using) and stir to combine. For an extra kick, add a couple of shakes of chipotle chili powder. Reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer another 45-60 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season to taste.