Slow roast Ratatouille with Feta

6 Aug

Slow roast Ratatouille with Feta

I was faced with a minor conundrum the other day.  Friends were coming to stay, but would not arrive until quite late at night.  I didn’t want a meal that would require a lot of “last minute” work, drawing me away from my guests.  I wanted a meal that I could just pull together with ease when they arrived.

I went through a whole range of dishes:

  • Paella, but the rice would have to be perfectly cooked.  Not ideal when you don’t know when your guests are going to arrive
  • Thai curry, but I didn’t want to leave the curry simmering on the hob for hours on end, whilst I waited for them to arrive
  • Gluten free Pizza, but there would be a lot of last minute work as I really don’t know how the dough would last (gluten free dough’s tend to go very soggy quite quickly)

A ratatouille I thought would be ideal for several reasons; 1 I haven’t made one for a LONG time; 2, I can still have fun creating my own version of it; 3, I could leave it in the oven for ages should my guests be later than expected, and the flavours would only enhance!

So here is my version of a ratatouille.  Not exactly classical, but it went down a storm nonetheless.   You will notice I haven’t included peppers in this ratatouille.  Peppers are a staple in this dish in my eyes, but due to dietary requirements of my fellow diners, I left them out on this occasion.  I don’t think it really impacted the dish at all as there was so much flavour and variety of texture in the dish with the peppers.

TOP TIP: Do you ever find that courgettes go soggy when cooked?  Well a way to reduce that is by choosing a courgette which is less than 15cm in length.  The longer they get, the more watery they tend to become.

The ingredients for the sauce:

3 fresh tomatoes (diced)

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 very small pinch of chilli flakes (maybe about 10)

1 tbsp Tomato puree

2 cloves garlic (crushed)

Salt and pepper

Splash of single cream (about 100ml)

Splash of red wine (roughly 100ml)

Splash of balsamic vinegar (about 2 tbsp)

The other ingredients:

1 large Red onion

1 large aubergine

2 courgettes

200g feta cheese

Fresh basil

 

The recipe:

  1. Put ALL the ingredients for the sauce into an oven proof dish (one with a lid), stir together and put into the oven at 200 degrees (Celsius), uncovered.
  2. Cut the red onion, aubergine and courgette into wedges.  Sprinkle the aubergine with salt (to draw out some of the bitterness) and leave for 10 minutes.
  3. Grill the onion, aubergine and courgette on a lightly greased griddle pan in batches.  The red onion will take longer than the aubergine and courgette as you will want the onion to be translucent and to start caramelising.  As each batch is cooked, add it to the tomato sauce in the oven and stir in.
  4. When all the vegetables are grilled, and stirred into the tomato sauce in the oven, add the lid to the dish and leave in the oven for anywhere up to an hour!  The flavours will only get more intense.
  5. To serve, add chopped feta cheese and a few basil leaves.  I served this will long grain and wild rice, but if you have some nice crusty fresh gluten free bread, that will also work very nicely.

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