Summer is just about over and seasonal crops like zucchini, tomatoes and peppers are ripe for the picking. Today, Flint Hills resident and friend of the show Cindy Hoedel bravely attempts to teach host Steve Kraske the tricks and skills for cooking a proper ratatouille — without burning down the house! Then, we get an update on her life in the rural Flint Hills.
- 2 pounds eggplant (one large or 3-4 skinny), cut into 1-inch cubes or, if skinny, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 3 bell peppers (one each yellow, red and green if possible), cored, seeded, cut into 1-inch pieces
- 4 medium zucchini (around 2 inches diameter), halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 2 large onions, quartered lengthwise and sliced lengthwise into 1/4-inch strips
- 1/4 cup olive oil (plus more below for sauce) sea salt and pepper
Preparing the sauce:
- 2.5 pounds ripe tomatoes, peeled and coarsely chopped
- 8 large or 12 small garlic cloves, thinly sliced
- 1 cup chopped parsley
- 20 medium or 40 small fresh basil leaves, torn in half
- 1/3 cup olive oil
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl, toss the chopped vegetables with the oil. Transfer to a large roasting pan or cookie sheet and sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper.
Roast for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring occasionally, until tender and slightly browned. In a 5-quart covered heavy pot, simmer the tomatoes, garlic, parsley, basil and olive oil for 30 to 40 minutes. Add the roasted vegetables to the sauce and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes to an hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.
To freeze, let ratatouille cool completely to room temperature, then ladle into rigid plastic or glass freezer containers or plastic freezer bags. Reheat in a saucepan on the stove over medium heat until the contents are melted, then reduce heat to low and cover pan under vegetables are heated all the way through, 15 to 25 minutes.