Ratatouille is a classic French dish designed to use up some of that late summer garden bounty. This version incorporates a pound of ground lamb (we got ours from Sweet Stem Farm in Liditz, PA), transforming it into a one-pot meal for meat eaters. For vegetarians and Meatless Mondays, just skip the lamb.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large yellow onion, diced
5 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 pound eggplant, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound zucchini, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound ground lamb
1 28-ounce can chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon minced rosemary (fresh, if possible)
1 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon minced sage (fresh, if possible)
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
3-4 turns of a pepper grinder
1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
Place a large, oven-proof skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil, onions and garlic. Cook until onions are translucent. Add red peppers, eggplant and zucchini and cook until the are softened, about 8-10 minutes. Stir regularly to ensure that there’s no sticking.
When the vegetables have softened, create a well in the center of the pan by pushing the cooking vegetables around the perimeter of the pan. Turn heat up to high and place the ground lamb into the center space you’ve just created. Allow it to brown for a few minutes before breaking it up with a wooden spatula. Stir the meat into the vegetables.
Add the tomatoes, rosemary, salt, sage, paprika and pepper to the pan and stir to incorporate. Reduce heat to medium-low and allow it to cook for an additional 15-20 minutes, until the sauce thickens and no longer looks watery.
When the ratatouille has cooked sufficiently, pre-heat your broiler. Carefully spread the grated parmesan across its top. Place pan in the oven for 3-5 minutes, watching carefully to ensure that it does not burn. When the top is nicely browned and you can smell the toasting cheese, remove the pan from the oven. Let cool for a few minutes before spooning up. Serve over brown rice, pasta, mashed potatoes or toasted bread.