Rata-franzia?

Ratatouille.  I have thoughts on that.  If you’ve ever lived with the Stat Man and I you probably have thoughts on it too.  Probably thoughts of “ratatouille again, seriously?”  It shows up nearly every week in our house.  I dunno, we just like it.

Now, this week’s ratatouille was particularly plebian thanks to none other than your virtual chef here.  Not until after prepping the vegetables did I realize we had no red wine on hand.  Huh.  What to do.  The pissing rain didn’t encourage a run to the corner market for a bottle of three-buck-chuck.  Instead I dug deeper.  Much deeper.  Not Carlo-Rossi-boon’s-farm deep, but something with a few more edges and corners.  Franzia.  I went down to our car, grabbed a box of Franzia from the back seat, and hoped the world didn’t see me carry it up to our kitchen.

So, this is the point where I need to stop and explain why we’ve been driving around with a box of Franzia in the back of our car for three months.  Well that all stems from a bunch of bozos (my favorite bozos) spending a weekend with us in January.  Their visit also explains the 30 rack of PBR on our kitchen table.  That’s all I’ve got on that one.  The whole in our back seat part?  We had every intention of “re-gifting” the Franzia when home to see our bozo friends.  However, the box never left the back seat.

Ratatouille

1 eggplant

1 green zucchini

1 yellow zucchini

2 large cans of pureed or diced tomato

4 cloves of garlic

½ an onion, coarsely chopped

1 ½ Tbsp olive oil

2 C red wine (more or less to taste)

Start by cutting your eggplant and zucchini into thin slices.  Take your eggplant, salt it and set it aside in a bowl.  Salting the eggplant will help to draw out the bitter liquid.  Set aside the zucchini.

Grab a heavy bottom dish that can be used on the stovetop and later tossed in the oven.  We use our le creuset dutch oven.  On the stove top heat the oil.  Add the garlic and onion, and sautee until soft.  Add your Franzia.  Or if you are a real person add wine.

A Franzia Disclaimer:  If you are not familiar with the particulars of opening boxed wine, don’t be caught off guard.  I found Franzia to have this neat little spout thingy once I punched in the side of the box and dug around in the corner.  If you turn the spout, Surprise!  Wine pours out on the floor.  I learned this the “someone get a sponge” way.

After 5-10 minutes of simmering the onion in so-called wine, add the tomatoes and continue to heat.  I added more wine at this point as well.  I like a deep red sauce.  Cook down the sauce for, oh, I don’t know, 10-20 minutes.  This is just to thicken the sauce. Cook it down to a consistency you like.

Find your eggplant and zucchini.  Dry the eggplant with a paper towel.  If you’re trying to impress (which of course my franzia-self was) layer your slices on top of the tomato sauce, and throw in some salt and pepper.  If you’re in a hurry, just toss all the crap in and put a lid on it.

Find a spot in a 350 degree oven for about an hour, or until the vegetables are tender.  Serve over cous-cous, or noodles, or bread, and with a big glass of franzia.  That shit lasts forever.

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1 Response to “Rata-franzia?”


  1. 1 Joe Maassen April 10, 2010 at 4:21 pm

    How pedestrian! You follow a legend like the esquire with “zucchini? May I suggest you take this blog to the next level and provide a recipe that honors my occasionally running like a plow horse so I can eat like a pig. Guess Who?


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