Welcome to What's Cooking, our version of a good old fashioned recipe exchange! Bonus points if you pair your dish with a Martha Stoumen wine, but we'll still love it regardless.
This recipe comes from food stylist and photographer Mickey Boille. When she tagged us in a post about Smoky Ratatouille, we knew we had to get the recipe! Put your apron on, order a bottle of Post Flirtation Red, and find the recipe below.
Time: 1h 30m
• 14 oz canned diced tomatoes (~1 ¾ cups)
• 1 cup raw cashews
• ½ cup water
• 1 tsp organic cane sugar
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 yellow or white onion, diced
• 1 red bell pepper, diced
• 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
• 2 tsp smoked paprika
• 1 tbsp Herbes de Provence
• 1 tsp dried thyme
• ½ tsp freshly cracked black pepper
• 2 tsp salt
• 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
• 4-5 medium tomatoes, such as campari or roma
• 1 yellow squash
• 1 zucchini
• 1 medium eggplant
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• ½ cup-1 cup Violife Just Like Parmesan, grated
• Small handful basil leaves, chopped
To make the sauce, blend diced tomatoes, cashews², water, and sugar in a high-speed blender and set aside². Heat olive oil in a large cast iron pan over medium heat, add diced onion and pepper and sauté for 4-5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook for another minute. Stir in smoked paprika, Herbes de Provence, thyme, black pepper, and salt. Cook for 1-2 minutes until fragrant. Lower heat to medium-low and deglaze the pan with balsamic vinegar. Add tomato/cashew mixture, stir to incorporate, and simmer for 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.
Preheat the oven to 375°F while you slice the vegetables into rounds 1/8” thick using a very sharp knife or mandoline. Remove about a quarter of the sauce, then spread the rest in an even layer over the bottom of the pan (or transfer to a casserole dish of your choice). Arrange vegetable rounds overlapping on top of the sauce, starting at the edge of the pan and working towards the center in a single, even layer³. Brush olive oil on top of arranged vegetables, then spoon on and spread the remaining sauce, making sure to get in between some of the rounds and along the edges of the pan.
Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour. Remove foil, add parmesan, and bake for another 10-20 minutes (broiling for the last 1-2 minutes) or until veggies are very, very tender. Cool for 10 minutes before serving with more parmesan, fresh chopped basil, and a crusty sourdough baguette.⁴
¹ You want your veggie rounds to be roughly the same diameter for ease of arrangement and even cooking, so keep that in mind while produce shopping. If you can, choose an eggplant variety on the less bitter side – I love using the gorgeous Graffiti eggplant, which lends a delicate sweetness to the dish. Fairy Tale eggplant is another great option!
² If you don’t have a high-speed blender, soak cashews in boiling water for 1+ hours prior to making sauce to help them blend.
³ You can get creative with your arrangement here, and depending on how tightly you pack your veggies, you may not use all of them. You can even add more and really pack them in, just know it will take much longer to cook.
⁴ Leftovers stored in an airtight container should keep for 4-5 days. To freeze, cool to room temperature and place in a shallow airtight container. To reheat, thaw in the refrigerator overnight, then bake for 7-10 minutes at 375°F, until completely warmed through. Enjoy with more parmesan and fresh chopped basil.