Pasta is such kid-friendly food that I experiment with it quite a bit in hopes that the little ones won’t notice…but they always do. One day while we were watching the Disney movie by the same name I thought, why not try to make ratatouille and serve it over pasta. And that’s how this recipe came to be.
When I started looking for recipes I wasn’t sure I’d even had it before. In fact, now I know I haven’t tried because I avoid eggplant wherever it might be. So, I thought, you know this whole experimenting with flavor thing that I’m trying isn’t just for the kids it’s for me too. So, the first night I made this we all tried something new, and much to my delight this recipe has become an easy way to get some veggies into my kids…and me.
The nice thing about this dish is that you can serve it over pasta (like the above photo) or as a side dish (like below) or on a toasted baguette as appetizer at a potluck. And it’s got very little hands-on time! And anyone who has little ones knows–every hand you’ve got needs to be used in that witching hour before dinner.
1 medium eggplant, peeled and cut into 1 inch cubes
1 red pepper, diced
1 medium zucchini, sliced into half moons 1/2 inch thick
1/2 an onion, chopped
1/2 cup of low sodium broth (I used chicken, but veggie works too.)
1/4 cup cream cheese
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 teaspoon garlic
1. On medium-high heat a saute the olive oil and the garlic in a large pan until the garlic is fragrant and begins to sizzle in the pan.
2. Next, add the eggplant to the pan and sear it for 5-8 minutes without stirring it. It will get some nice color to it this way.
3. Then, as you chop the zucchini, red pepper and onion add them to the pan with the broth and put a lid on the pan. Turn the heat to low and let it simmer for 10 minutes.
4. At this stage remove the lid and stir the veggies around a bit. The eggplant and zucchini will start to fall disintegrate into a lovely sauce now.
5. This is when you need to decide: sauce or side dish. If you’re making a pasta sauce, skip to step 6. If you’re making a side dish, add salt and pepper and you’re done! I kind of feel like that was like Choose-Your-Own-Adventure-style…remember those books anyone? I loved them. I reread (past tense 🙂 ) them all the time.
6. To turn this into a kid-friendly sauce, pop it into the blender or food processor and give it a whirl. This is especially important for those of us with good detectives who will find all these new veggies in the sauce.
7. Once smooth, return it to the pan and stir in the cream cheese. Taste test it. Then add some salt and pepper, if you choose. Toss it with a pound of cooked spaghetti and call it a day!
1/2 cup broth
pinch of salt
cover low heat 10 minutes