Sunday, July 27, 2014

For my writer's group, I wanted to showcase summer's brilliant veggies as a main course. I wondered...has anyone come up with Ratatouille Pie? Mais oui! The New York Times published a recipe for a Tarte Cote d'Azur, which I chose among Google's pie collection. The only major alterations I made were reducing the amount of tomatoes and seeding them first before cutting them in cubes. I also used Friulano instead of Fontina cheese. This Ratatouille Pie makes a lovely make-ahead vegetarian summer dish which you can serve warm or cold with a great side salad. I made Cold Strawberry Soup served with yogurt to start, which was also a hit!

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Ratatouille Pie (makes enough filling for two 9-inch pies)

3 medium Sicilian eggplants, cubed
2 large zucchinis, trimmed and diced
1 large onion, peeled and chopped finely
2 large green peppers, chopped
3 medium tomatoes, seeded and diced
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
1/4 to 1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup fresh parsley, coarsely chopped
1 cup pitted and halved Kalamata olives
2 cups grated Friulano cheese, divided
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1 egg yolk
2 tsp water

Things needed: recipe of your choice for a two-crust pastry (x2) or store bought, and oven-proof casserole.

Preheat oven to 425°F. Heat olive oil (low to medium heat) in a large oven-proof casserole and add eggplant and cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes. Add onion, zucchini, green pepper and continue to cook for another 10 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, bay leaf and salt and pepper. Continue occasionally stirring for another 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and parsley and cook and stir for another 5 minutes. Place casserole in the oven and bake for 30 minutes. Take out the casserole,stir in olives and bake for another 10 minutes. Take out ratatouille and let stand until thoroughly cold. Discard bay leaf. Turn off oven until ready to bake the pies.

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Scoop cold ratatouille mixture halfway into each pie crust bottom. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of Parmesan on top of each pie and follow it with 1 cup of grated Friulano on top of each pie. 

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Sprinkle any leftover ratatouille on top of the cheeses. Cover the pies with the second layers of pastry, trim or tuck under the overlapping edges and seal the edges by fluting or using the tines of a fork to seal. Make sure to poke a few holes on top of the pies with the fork tines to let steam escape. Preheat oven to 375°F. In a small bowl, beat the egg yolk with the water and brush the tops of each pie with the mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.

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Serve warm or cold. I loved it cold!

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Adapted from Craig Claiborne and Pierre Franey's Recipe from The New York Times © 2014

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