Each new year is a chance for a fresh start and I find that eating wisely is always top of my mind. The excesses of the festive season means for many a need to tighten the purse strings and reduce the waistline! I always find eating vegetarian food is a great way to consume fewer calories but also cheaper too. Ratatouille is very versatile and my recipe uses the roasting method to cook and intensify flavours and produce a dish which can be used as the main course or a starter. For those of you looking for a lower calorie version I would dispense with the pastry and add a tin of chopped tomatoes half way through cooking along with one cup of cooked quinoa and lentils, remember to stir and mix it well. This will be the ultimate low fat, high fibre, one pot meal!
1 pack ready rolled puff pastry
1 large onion
225 g courgette
450 g plum tomato
1 fennel bulb
100 g chestnut mushrooms
1 sweet red pepper
1 yellow sweet pepper
1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme
1⁄2 teaspoon dried rosemary
Handful shredded fresh basil
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
6 – 10 cloves garlic
Pre heat fan oven to 200 degrees
- Score base of tomatoes with a cross and soak in boiling water
- Cut onion and peppers into 12 wedges
- Remove stalk from mushrooms and quarter
- Cut courgettes into 1cm rounds
- Cut aubergine into 2cm chunks
- Place cut aubergine and peppers into a baking tin. Add chopped garlic and dried herbs. Drizzle olive oil and add seasoning, mixing well. Bake in the oven on 200 fan for 10 minutes. Take out of oven and add other cut vegetables and shredded basil leaves. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the oven and strain off any excess liquid and place to one side
- Roll out pastry and place and divide into thirds. Cut 3cms strips on the left had side and right hand side thirds. (as shown in picture) Place cooked ratatouille in the centre third of the pastry. Leaving a 1 cm edge at the top and bottom. If there are an unequal number of strips on each side start with the side with most strips.
- Overlay the strips and continue all the way down. Seal the top and bottom with milk and brush the top of the platt with milk. Bake in the oven for 20 to 25 minutes on 180 or until golden brown.