We had a Birthday party to attend on Saturday, and I was looking for something to prepare in advance for Sunday, because we usually get home too late to have a lot of time to spend in the kitchen. Anyway, I found these cute round zucchinis and thought I might fill them. I know its not exactly high season for tomatoes, eggplant and the like, but frankly I’m already tired of cabbage, brussels sprouts and wintry roots, so a ratatouille as filling sounded good. I cut the top off of the zucchini and used a ‘parisienne’ (a small scoop tool) to remove the flesh. This was cut into smaller pieces as was an eggplant, 5 cherry tomatoes an onion and two cloves of garlic. I sautéed the minced onion and garlic first, adding the zucchini and eggplant pieces next. After cooking this for a few minutes the tomatoes were next to go. I also added 2 inches of tomato paste from a tube before adding a generous swallow of Noilly Prat, a vermouth used in cooking. I then put a lid on the pan and cooked that for about five minutes until all the vegetables were tender.
In the meantime the hollow round zucchinis wound up in my trusty Braun steamer for fifteen minutes, enough to soften them.
I let them cool off and filled them with the ratatouille mixture after grating Parmesan over it and adding freshly dried thyme and marjoram and salt and pepper to it.
On Sunday all I had to do was to pop them in the oven for thirty minutes at 180 C.
The unlikely match for these stuffed vegetables was small steaks of pork tenderloin fried and finished in the oven, with a sauce made from chopped shallots, white wine and cream. For the extra flavor I deglazed the frying pan with the white wine before adding the cream and then finally about one heaping tablespoon of green peppercorns.
The individual elements tasted good, but didn’t really come together. Ms. B. remarked that the zucchini was relatively boring and could have been improved by the addition of ground beef.
I would agree, but that would of course be a different dish. It would improve the texture though, and the mouthfeel as well.
But, for a Sunday dinner, I’ve had worse. Can’t win ’em all.
The elbow noodles were an addition to Ms. B’s plate. I enjoyed the dish sans pasta.