Ratatouille with freekeh

Vegetarian

2 Servings, 680 Calories/Serving

40 Minutes

Roasted over open fires, freekeh is made from fresh, green wheat and has a complex, smoky flavor that makes a welcome addition to a vegetarian meal. Here it’s paired with Chef Justine’s bright, herbaceous ratatouille that’s finished with a salty hit of ricotta.

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup freekeh
  • 2 tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1¼ pounds globe eggplant
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 large red bell pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 2 roma tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Small bunch parsley
  • Small bunch basil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 ounce ricotta salata

Instructions

1

Cook the freekeh

In a 2-quart saucepot, combine the freekeh with 2 cups salted water and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until tender, about 20 minutes. While the freekeh cooks, prepare the ratatouille.

2

Toast the pine nuts; prep the eggplant

In a dry 12-inch frying pan over medium heat, toast the pine nuts until golden, about 5 minutes. Cut the eggplant into 1-inch cubes.

3

Cook the eggplant; prep the remaining vegetables.

In the same pan used to toast the pine nuts, heat 3 tablespoons oil over medium high heat until hot but not smoking. Add the eggplant, season with salt and pepper and cook, turning occasionally until beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel lined plate to drain.
  • While the eggplant cooks:
  • Peel the onion and cut it into 1-inch pieces.
  • Cut the red pepper into 1-inch pieces. Discard the seeds.
  • Peel and chop the garlic.
  • Core the tomatoes and cut into 1-inch pieces.

4

Cook the remaining vegetables

Add 2 tablespoons oil to the pan and place over medium high heat. Add the onions, peppers and garlic. Season with salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the tomatoes and tomato paste and cook until reduced slightly, about 5 minutes. Add 1 cup water, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer and cook until the liquid starts to thicken, about 5 minutes.
While the ratatouille cooks, rinse, dry and chop the herbs.
Add the eggplant back to the pan, and cook, breaking it up with a fork, about 3 minutes longer. The ratatouille should have the consistency of a thick tomato sauce. Add more water if necessary. Remove from the heat, stir in the vinegar and herbs. Season with salt and pepper.

5

Serve

Spoon the freekeh into 2 serving bowls. Top with the ratatouille. Garnish with pine nuts and and crumbled ricotta salata.

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