Thursday, May 14, 2009

Roasted Vegetable Ragu

A rich, meaty ragu without meat? You betcha!

When you can put your hands on a fresh eggplant and some bell pepper, you have the makings for a rich, hearty sauce that's fantastic over pasta. There are tomatoes inside, but if you don't have fresh tomatoes just yet, this is perfect for you--it uses canned products.

What's extra-great about this, too, is leftovers can be frozen in ice-cube portions for adding to soups, stews and chili, which works especially nicely if you have picky eaters around the house like I do! (Mr.W, I'm talking to you!)

It's very, very simple: just cut up an eggplant (skin on) along with 2 or more bell peppers (any color). You can also add an onion or two if you like. Toss everything with olive oil, salt and pepper and bake in a 350*F oven until the edges start getting golden brown. Don't worry if they brown too much--it'll still work out as long as they're not completely burned.

Once your vegetables have been roasted they can go in the refrigerator or even freezer if you're not ready to use them right away. When you are ready, however, dump them in a big pot with a 28-ounce can of peeled tomatoes and any additional ingredients you love. I use dried parsley, oregano, basil and some minced garlic, along with a tablespoon or so of my secret ingredient: sundried tomato puree. If you don't keep this stuff around the house you can use tomato paste, but I find this has a lot more concentrated flavor, and the tube convenience is fantastic. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes. Remove from heat and puree using an immersible hand blender, or process in batches in a blender or food processor to puree.

Simple, and so good.

This is a scheduled post; I am unavailable from Tuesday, May 12 through Friday, May 15, but will respond to your comments and emails as quickly as possible. Thanks in advance for your patience.


Grace said...

sun-dried tomato puree? yes please, right into my mouth! :)
seriously though, what a sauce. i'm sure the meat isn't missed at all, and in fact, i think i'd prefer it this way. eggplant is good stuff, especially roasted.

Sam said...

I really like roasting vegetables, it gives them a fantastic flavour.

The sauce looks really really good!

Amanda said...

Grace, you are so funny! The sundried tomato puree is yummy licked right off the finger, I'll give you that! I love, eggplant, too.

Thanks, Sam; we're in the same camp with roasting vegetables! I think it brings out the best flavors.

SarahKate said...

Oh, I am going to make this tomorrow night! I am having one of my "vego" meat-less weeks, so this is perfect. Thanks for the great idea!

Amanda said...

I'd love to hear how you like it, SarahKate. We love it!

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