The gentle heat of the slow cooker coaxes the best flavor from the eggplant, bell pepper and other vegetables in this rustic Provençal-inspired recipe. Serve over buttered penne pasta or with crusty bread for dipping for a late-summer meatless Monday meal.
Slow-Cooker Ratatouille with Balsamic and Pine Nuts
- 1 eggplant, 1 to 1 1/2 lb. (500 to 750 g), cut into 1-inch (2.5-cm) cubes
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- 5 Tbs. (3 oz./80 g) tomato paste
- 1/3 cup (3 fl. oz./80 ml) olive oil
- 6 Tbs. (3 fl. oz./90 ml) balsamic vinegar
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 tsp. chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 large yellow onion, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
- 2 red bell peppers, seeded and cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
- 3 zucchini, cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
- 5 plum tomatoes, seeded and cut into 2-inch (5-cm) pieces
- 1/3 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) capers, rinsed
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 Tbs. unsalted butter
- 1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz./75 g) pine nuts
- Chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley for garnish
1. In a colander set in the sink or on a kitchen towel, toss the eggplant with 1 tsp. salt. Let drain until the liquid has been released and the eggplant has darkened slightly, about 30 minutes. Pat the eggplant dry.
2. In a small bowl, stir together the tomato paste, oil, vinegar, garlic, thyme, 2 tsp. salt and a few grindings of pepper.
3. In a slow cooker, combine the eggplant, onion, bell peppers, zucchini and tomatoes. Pour the tomato paste mixture over the vegetables and stir to coat. Add the capers and bay leaf and stir to combine.
4. Cover and cook on high until the vegetables are tender, about 4 hours. Remove and discard the bay leaf.
5. Just before serving, in a small fry pan over low heat, melt the butter. Add the pine nuts and toast, stirring frequently, until lightly browned and fragrant, about 3 minutes. Season with salt and sprinkle over the ratatouille. Garnish with parsley and pepper and serve immediately. Serves 4 to 6.
Discover new ways to plan easy meals with the magic of the slow cooker in our Slow Cooker Cookbook.