Ok, I'm getting teary eyed so let's move on to the next recipe...
Outside of the Filipino vegetable dishes I grew up eating, ratatouille is one of my new favorites. I think it's because the flavor is sort of reminiscent to my all time favorite dish pinakbet. I love the combination of eggplant, tomatoes and onions stewed together. And this dish has the nice addition of sausage to make it into a complete meal.
Ratatouille and Sausage
1 medium chopped onion, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
3 medium sized zucchini, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 small eggplant, unpeeled, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 red bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1/2 green bell pepper, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 14oz can diced tomatoes
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
kosher or sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 pound sweet Italian sausage
2 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme (or 1 teaspoon dried)
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/2 teaspoon dried)
Preheat oven to 400°F.
Heat a large oven-proof pan or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil. When oil is hot, brown Italian Sausage on all sides. Remove sausage and set aside.
Lower heat and in the same pan sauté onions until they begin to soften. Add garlic and continue to cook.
While the onions and garlic are cooking in low heat, heat 2 tablespoons in another skillet over high heat. When the pan gets hot, add zucchini and lightly brown. Remove browned zucchini and add to the pan with the onions. This step of browning the vegetables gives the dish more depth of flavor as opposed to just adding them straight without browning.
Repeat the browning process one at a time for the bell peppers, then the eggplant, adding the browned vegetables to the pan with the onions. Add more olive oil as necessary but make sure not to add too much. You only need a little so the vegetables do not stick to the pan.
Add the tomatoes with their juice to the vegetables. Season with about 1-2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper.
Add red pepper flakes and herbs and 1/4 cup of water. Bring to a boil then place the sausages on top.
Transfer to the oven and cook, uncovered for 30 to 40 minutes.
A perfect side for this dish is a simple garlic parmesan bread-- cut a clove of garlic and rub it on slices of Italian bread. Brush bread with olive oil and place in oven for 8 minutes. Remove bread from oven and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Return to oven and cook for 3 more minutes or until cheese melts.