One of my all-time favorite classic recipes is this Italian creamy and smoky ratatouille, but not just any ratatouille, it’s a smoky and creamy version with smoked paprika cream and a bounty of summer vegetables. All these veggies can be simmered in a tomato and red bell pepper sauce, some Parmesan cheese, and it’s just absolutely incredible! you guys are going to love this recipe.
I like to start this recipe off with the tomato and red bell peppers. Heating a large frying pan over medium heat, add extra virgin olive oil, and once the olive oil is heated, add in one large diced red bell pepper, and one large diced onion and then cook this over medium heat for about four to five minutes. you want the red bell pepper and the onion to be translucent, but not brown.
A few minutes later, add in four minced garlic cloves, and some smokiness and herbs. About 2Tsps of smoked paprika, 1Tbsp of French herb which contains (thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and a little bit of lavender), ground black pepper, and season it with a generous amount of salt.
I also like to add some fresh thyme to this dish it is just so aromatic it’s going to add a ton of flavor to the sauce, and then in goes a cup and a half of crushed tomatoes.
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And to balance out some of the acidity from the tomato sauce, add in a teaspoon of sugar and a couple of tablespoons of pomping organic balsamic vinegar. And let it simmer away on low heat for a few minutes.
Chop up a few basil leaves, and then add them in before the sauce is done cooking. and pour 1/2 Cup of heavy cream in the sauce, stir it in and then take the sauce off the heat.
Now, moving on to the star ingredient of this dish. You’ll need tomatoes, yellow zucchini, green squash, and Chinese eggplant, and the secret to making this Italian creamy and smoky ratatouille is slicing the vegetables as thinly as you can. you can use a sharp knife, or you can use a Madeleine slicer, and try your best to make sure that all the slices are the same thickness that way they’ll cook evenly in the oven.
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The easiest way to arrange the sliced vegetables is to create little stacks of them first so place alternating layers of veggies into small little stacks on your cutting board, and then once you have those stacks all assembled, you can arrange them into the casserole dish.
Then grab the sauce that you prepared earlier, and spoon it into the bottom of your casserole (place about three-quarters of the sauce), and reserved just a little bit for the top, and then just start adding those veggies stacks one by one packing them into the casserole tightly.
And finally, gently spoon on the rest of the sauce in between veggie slices and sides between veggies and casserole edges. For the topping, you can use fresh thyme leaves, and some organic extra virgin olive oil for that amazing incredible flavor, and then just grab a pastry brush and brush that oil over the veggies it’s going to add so much incredible flavor, also going to give the veggies a nice golden-brown color, and your Italian creamy and smoky ratatouille is ready to go into the oven.
In a preheated Oven at 375 degrees Fahrenheit, bake this Italian creamy and smoky ratatouille for 1 hour. Bake it with the foil for 15 minutes, take that foil off, add some Parmesan cheese over the top, and let it bake for another 10-15 minutes.
And if you want you can also place it under the broiler, and let it broil for about 5-7 minutes so the veggies are really nice and golden on top.
Took it out of the oven, let it cool for about 15-20 minutes and then dig in and enjoy and aroma of this Italian creamy and smoky ratatouille! this dish is absolutely mind-blowing!
This ratatouille is so good I love all those incredible nostalgic flavors of such a comforting, and warming dish with the herbs and the olive oil and the sweet tomatoes. absolutely incredible I’m sure you’ll be making this dish very often.
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- 2 medium zucchini (sliced into thin rounds)
- 2 medium yellow squash (sliced into thin rounds)
- 2 small sweet potatoes (peeled and sliced into thin rounds)
- 5 roma tomatoes (sliced into thin rounds)
- 4 cups marinara sauce
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1 Tablespoon Grill Mate’s Roasted Garlic and Herb Seasoning
- 2 Tablespoons fresh basil (chiffonade, as garnish)
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Preheat your grill or smoker to 225 degrees F for indirect or two-zone grilling.
Remove the tops and ends of your vegetables, peel your sweet potatoes and get to slicing! Slice your vegetables into thin rounds, keeping the thickness as even as possible for all of your vegetables.
Pour your marinara sauce in the bottom of a 12 inch cast iron skillet. Smooth out with the backside of a spoon or spatula.
Arrange the vegetables in a repeating pattern of tomato, sweet potato, yellow squash, zucchini, on top of the sauce. I like to start on the outside edge of the pan and gently nestle the vegetables rounds into the sauce at a slight angle.
Once you’ve completed one full circle around the outside edge of the pan, repeat with the second round, laying the vegetables down in the opposite direction. Once that circle is completed, arrange the final row in the middle of the pan and nestle a few additional pieces of vegetables around the middle row to fill in the empty spaces.
Drizzle the top of the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle evenly with the Grill Mates Roasted Garlic and Herb seasoning. Place your skillet in your grill or smoker over indirect heat. Close the lid and cook for 2 hours. This will allow the vegetables to get nice and tender while picking up great flavor from the grill.
Increase the heat in your smoker to 375 degrees F, or if using a grill, slide your pan over to the direct heat side of your grill. This next step will take 30-45 minutes in a smoker, or it could go a little faster if you’re using direct heat. Just keep an eye on the sauce in your pan to make sure it doesn’t burn as the top of the vegetables are starting to caramelize.
Remove from the grill and let the ratatouille sit for 10 minutes or so. Garnish with fresh basil before serving.