Monday, May 7, 2012

Foolproof Food Days are Here Again

Here’s to Healthy, Favorable Food: A Show-stopping Roasted Ratatouille! 
Recipe by Rose Hegele
Ratatouille has different meaning for different cooks. Some view it at a side dish for bread dipping, pasta on the side. Some like their ratatouille heaped ON TOP of rice or fettuccini, while still yet, many a home cook doesn’t feature pasta with this dish at all. Rose Hegele is one such cook. Her Roasted Ratatouille is gorgeous the way a centerpiece is gorgeous. She has surrounded a savory, herb encrusted mountain of fresh vegetables, with cute little New Potatoes, roasted to perfection in rosemary and olive oil. I think the French of Nice—where the tradition of ratatouille started millennia ago—would absolutely love it. As a carb lover, I was practically giddy when I saw Rose’s Roasted Ratatouille.

I was thrilled because I’ve had ratatouille every which way: served as sauce, served as a side, baked in an oven, slow cooked in a crock pot, painstakingly layered with ingredients that were set aside and roasted separately later on. My verdict? It’s all pretty darn good. Ratatouille fulfills the same sort of prophecy as pizza or truffles: good no matter what. But then Rose stepped things up with her version, and I think I fell in love with it—not just because it tasted spectacular—but because it looked so darn good.  Those New Potatoes forming a happy little ring around the ratatouille look so golden and delicious. When is Rose inviting me over? She should understand that this praise is high coming from a meat lover. I love chicken, beef, pork—love it all, and sometimes, I admit it, miss it in a ratatouille. But not this time.

So tell us what YOU think! Try making Rose’s Roasted Ratatouille at home. She allows a lot of creative license with the veggies and spices.  She skips the eggplant recommended in the recipe, and doubles up on zucchini and squash instead.  She was also looking for a little kick and added a pinch of red pepper flakes, not included in her formal recipe. That’s the cool thing about cooking. Nothing is written in stone—there are these little asides cooks share when they exchange recipes. Try this surprise ingredient if you remember. If you don’t, there’s always next time!

Like I said, ratatouille means many things to many people. For those of us who don’t know what it is, and think it’s just a darling Disney movie…well, I cry for them a little. Please forward this article along. Remind them that a Rose ratatouille by any other name would smell as sweet.        

About the recipe contributor:  Rose Hegele has had a passion for cooking and experimenting for over 40 years; her recent diagnosis of gluten intolerance and children’s experience with autoimmune disorders has changed Rose’s approach to eating. She hopes to share her flavorful, healthy food and improve the lives of all. 

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