Ratatouille Pasta Salad–gettin’ those veggies in

I made this Ratatouille Pasta Salad recently when my dear Auntie Shirl was visiting, and she said, “Have you posted this?  You should!”  So here it is–a little bit time-consuming, but soooo worth it!

Ratatouille Pasta Salad

Ratatouille Pasta Salad

  • 1 lb. pasta (I used penne in this case, but bow-ties or campanelle would be fine, too.)

Boil the pasta according to directions, and when it is al dente, drain and set aside in a large bowl.

The ratatouille:

  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (or, about 1 TBSP from the jar)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 c. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 c. dry wine (red or white, doesn’t matter)
  • 1 medium egg-plant (cut into 1″ cubes, soak for 20-30 minutes in salt water, then drain and pat dry)
  • 4 small zucchini (or grey Mexican squash, or yellow crook-neck, or even pat-a-pan squash)
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced (or 1 can diced tomatoes–not as wonderful, but if the fresh ones are too expensive or not inspirational, go with canned)
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped roughly (or 2 tsp. of dry–REALLY not as wonderful, but if you must…)

The extras:

  • 1 can black olives
  • 1 can navy beans (could also be black beans)
  • 10 or so sun-dried tomatoes (If you use the kind that come marinated in oil, just drain them, chop them, and throw them into the salad;  if you use the kind that are the texture of prunes or raisins, and found in the bulk aisle, then soak them in a dish of water for 20 minutes or so, then drain them and chop them, and add them to the salad.)
  • I also threw in chunks of 1 pre-cooked chicken breast because I had it on hand.  If you don’t have chicken, don’t sweat it–this dish has enough.

I recommend that you put the pasta on to cook while you chop your veggies, and then let it sit and cool while you are cooking the ratatouille.  Also, I recommend that you prep the eggplant and the sun-dried tomatoes first, so that they are ready to go by the time you get the rest of everything ready to cook.  I find it is easier to have all my ingredients ready to go in little bowls, so that I can just fling them into the pot and keep stirring.  But if you have a sous-chef at your command, then by all means, cook as they chop.

Start by sautéeing the garlic and onions in the olive oil in a large skillet (and I mean LARGE–if you only have a frying pan, use a Dutch oven or even a stock pot–this gets big!)  One note:  I didn’t use regular olive oil–I used some of the Mojo de Ajo that I had sitting in my fridge.  This is olive oil that has been slow-cooked with lots and lots of garlic and a wee nip of lime juice and chili.  It’s fabulous, but it IS over-the-top in the garlic department, so if you are not a garlic aficionado, feel free to use just plain olive oil.

When the onions are translucent, add the mushrooms.  When these have softened, add the wine.  Continue stirring, and add the zucchini;  after a few minutes, add the eggplant, then the red bell peppers and tomatoes together.  Allow all of this to keep cooking as you stir.  If it gets dry, add another slosh of wine.  When all the vegetables are soft and cooked through, throw in the basil.  Keep stirring for just a few minutes more, just enough to let the basil wilt.  Then remove from heat.

Toss the ratatouille into the pasta, along with the olives, beans, chicken (optional) and sun-dried tomatoes.  Toss well to mix.  Then add the following simple vinaigrette dressing:

  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. garlic (fresh or dried)
  • 2 tsp. Herbes des Provence or Italian seasoning (a mix of basil, oregano, and maybe thyme and marjoram–you can really add whatever herbs you like here, these are just suggestions)

Shake the dressing well, then pour over the salad and toss again.

Warning, this makes a HUGE pasta salad–we had enough to feed a dinner party of 10 people, plus another dinner for our family of 4, PLUS several more lunches for both my husband and me!  It’s a LOT of food.  My favorite part, though, was that my often-reluctant veggie-eaters ate it with gusto!

Cooking time:  60-90 minutes, depending on sous-chef availability and rate of chopping

Makes:  an astronomical number of servings.  If I doubled it I could feed a small university.

Laura

Ratatouille Pasta Salad–gettin’ those veggies in

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. pasta (smaller shapes like campanelle, penne, or farfalle)
  • 4 TBSP olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced (or, about 1 TBSP from the jar)
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 2 c. sliced mushrooms
  • 1 c. dry wine (red or white, doesn’t matter)
  • 1 medium egg-plant (cut into 1? cubes, soak for 20-30 minutes in salt water, then drain and pat dry)
  • 4 small zucchini (or grey Mexican squash, or yellow crook-neck, or even pat-a-pan squash)
  • 2 red bell peppers, seeded and sliced
  • 4 medium tomatoes, diced (or 1 can diced tomatoes–not as wonderful, but if the fresh ones are too expensive or not inspirational, go with canned)
  • Handful of fresh basil leaves, chopped roughly (or 2 tsp. of dry–REALLY not as wonderful, but if you must…)
  • 1 can black olives
  • 1 can navy beans (could also be black beans)
  • 10 or so sun-dried tomatoes (If you use the kind that come marinated in oil, just drain them, chop them, and throw them into the salad; if you use the kind that are the texture of prunes or raisins, and found in the bulk aisle, then soak them in a dish of water for 20 minutes or so, then drain them and chop them, and add them to the salad.)
  • I also threw in chunks of 1 pre-cooked chicken breast because I had it on hand. If you don’t have chicken, don’t sweat it–this dish has enough.
  • 1/2 c. olive oil
  • 1/2 c. cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. garlic (fresh or dried)
  • 2 tsp. Herbes des Provence or Italian seasoning (a mix of basil, oregano, and maybe thyme and marjoram–you can really add whatever herbs you like here, these are just suggestions)

Instructions

Sautée the garlic and onions in the olive oil.

When the onions are translucent, add the mushrooms.

When these have softened, add the wine.

Continue stirring, and add the zucchini;

after a few minutes, add the eggplant,

then the red bell peppers and tomatoes together.

Allow all of this to keep cooking as you stir. If it gets dry, add another slosh of wine.

When all the vegetables are soft and cooked through, add the basil.

Keep stirring for just a few minutes more, just enough to let the basil wilt.

Then remove from heat.

Toss the ratatouille into the pasta, along with the olives, beans, chicken (optional) and sun-dried tomatoes. Toss well to mix.

Make the vinaigrette with olive oil, vinegar, garlic and herbs. Pour over salad and toss.

http://www.mysisterskitchenonline.com/2012/03/28/ratatouille-pasta-salad-gettin-those-veggies-in/