When we bought our new house in the end of May, I knew that time was of the essence, so I hurriedly planted a vegetable garden. I also started a compost pile, which is finally turning into beautiful, rich soil. Other than dealing with Canada thistles (help!), we have naturally healthy, rock-free soil here. I can't wait to see how well my garden does when I add compost to it! If your garden is bursting at the seams like mine is, this is a delicious and healthy way to use up those summer veggies. Sausage and a splash sherry add beautiful depth of flavor to this ratatouille. Because I didn't have time to start bell pepper seeds indoors, I sadly went without them this year. If you have them, thinly sliced bell pepper is a tasty addition to this dish.
Yields 4 - 6 servings
- 1/2 lb sweet sausage
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
- Splash of dry sherry
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1/2 c onion, diced
- 2 large garlic cloves, finely minced
- 1/4 c tomato sauce
- 1 zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1 yellow squash, thinly sliced
- 1 small eggplant, thinly sliced
- 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
- 1 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 1/2 tbsp fresh oregano, chopped
- 1/4 c freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- Salt, to taste
- Pepper, to taste
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place the sausage in a large skillet, and add enough water to reach halfway up the sausage. Bring the water to a boil. Turn down the heat to low. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Remove the sausage from the skillet and discard the remaining water. Using the same skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the sausage back to the skillet and brown on all sides. Remove the sausage from the pan and coarsely chop it.
Deglaze the pan with the sherry, scraping up the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add the butter and onion. Cook until the onion is soft, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic, and cook for 1 minute longer. Add the chopped sausage back to the skillet, and stir well to combine. Set aside.
Spread a thin layer of tomato sauce in the bottom of a 2 1/2 quart baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over the zucchini, squash, eggplant and tomatoes. Season with salt and pepper. Layer the vegetables in the baking dish. Pour the chopped sausage evenly over all. I press some of the sausage in between the sliced vegetables. Sprinkle the parsley, oregano, and Parmesan cheese over all.
Cover with tin foil and bake for 50 to 60 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Dish out individual portions on serving plates, and spoon some of the accumulated juices on top. Garnish with parsley, and top with more Parmesan, to taste. Serve with crusty bread.