Ratatouille With Farro
I wanted to make a hearty dish that I could throw together the night before a group of friends came over for dinner. This dish tastes even better on the second day! Some of them are vegetarian and I wanted a good complete meal in a bowl. I made a batch of my Italian gravy (minus the pork) as the base for the sauce. I also grilled some salmon and some tofu if my guests wanted more protein with the meal.
MAKES: 6 Servings
PREP/COOK TIME:1 1/2 Hours
1 ½ pounds eggplant, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon salt, divided
¾ pound (2 medium) onions, thinly sliced
¾ pound mixed sweet peppers (red, yellow, green), cut into slices about 3/4 inch wide by 1 1/2 inches long
4 to 6 large garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 ¼ pounds zucchini, sliced about 1/2 inch thick (if very thick, cut in half lengthwise first)
1 pound cremini mushrooms
2 cups Italian Gravy
1 bay leaf
1 to 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves or 1/2 to 1 teaspoon dried thyme
½ teaspoon dried oregano
Freshly ground pepper
1 1/2 cups farro
4 cups Magic Mineral Broth
Rinse the farro under cold water and drain. Transfer to a medium pot. Add the Magic Mineral Broth and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low and cook for 25 to 30 minutes, until it is softened but still chewy. If there is still liquid in the pot drain in off.
Meanwhile, Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place diced eggplant in a large, heavy, flameproof casserole. Toss with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and salt to taste. Place in hot oven and roast uncovered for 15 to 20 minutes, stirring from time to time, until eggplant is lightly browned and fragrant. Remove the casserole from the oven, cover tightly and allow eggplant to steam in the hot casserole while you pan-cook onions, peppers, and zucchini.
Meanwhile, heat a tablespoon of the remaining oil over medium heat in a large, heavy skillet. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until just about tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in peppers and a generous pinch of salt. Cook, stirring often, until peppers have softened and smell fragrant, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in half the garlic and cook for another minute, then season with salt and pepper and transfer to casserole with eggplant. Heat remaining oil in the skillet and add zucchini and mushrooms. Cook, stirring often, until zucchini are tender but still bright, about 5 to 10 minutes. Stir in remaining garlic for a minute, until fragrant, season to taste with salt and pepper, and transfer to casserole.
Add Italian Gravy to the casserole with bay leaf, thyme, oregano, and more salt and pepper to taste. Toss everything together and place over medium-low heat. When vegetables begin to sizzle, cover, reduce the heat to low and simmer, stirring often, for 30 to 45 minutes, until the mix is juicy and fragrant and the vegetables are thoroughly tender. Taste and adjust seasonings. Serve warm or cold, preferably the next day.
To assemble the big bowl, spoon warm or room temperature farro into each bowl (1/2 cup to 3/4 cup, to taste). Top with a generous spoonful of ratatouille.