Baked Orzo Ratatouille
Makes 6 servings
Last night Cara came over for a casual hang-sesh to talk life, love, and all things Big Girls, Small Kitchens. As she drafted a thank you email to our new friends at SHINE, I whipped up this simple orzo dish. I bought the eggplant, squash, and zucchini—a total of $3.08 from the overpriced gourmet foods shop around the corner –on my way home, tossed together the rest from my pantry and fridge, and in less than 30 minutes (pardon me, Rachel Ray), this impromptu ratatouille baked pasta was piping hot on the table, ready to serve six hungry mouths.
Unfortunately, Cara and I had both not-so-accidentally spoiled our appetite with a cup of Pinkberry on the way back to my apartment, and we barely made a dent. So for lack of an official lunchbox, I’ll now have tupperware containers full of healthy leftovers for the week to come.
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
1 small eggplant, diced
1 zucchini, quartered and sliced
1 squash, quartered and sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 15oz can diced tomatoes (I like to use fire-roasted for extra flavor)
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1 lb orzo
½ cup grated parmesan
½ cup grated fontina cheese
salt to taste
Bring a large pot of water to boil. Cook the orzo according to the package directions until al dente. Reserve ½ cup of the cooking liquid, drain, and set aside.
In a large cast-iron skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium-high heat and sauté the onion until translucent. Add the eggplant and continue to cook, stirring occasionally, until the eggplant has begun to soften, about five minutes. Toss in the zucchini and the squash and cook for another 3 minutes until tender. Add the garlic, tomatoes and all their juices, balsamic, red pepper, and salt to taste. Turn the heat down to medium-low and allow to reduce for a minute or two until some of the tomatoes’ acidity has softened, and the overall flavor of the sauce is to your liking.
Stir in the cooked orzo and the cooking liquid until everything is well incorporated. Preheat the broiler, smooth the surface of the orzo mixture, and cover evenly with the cheeses. Place the skillet in the oven for five minutes or so until the cheese has melted and begun to brown.
From my kitchen, albeit small, to yours,
Phoebe, THE QUARTER-LIFE COOK