The actual ratatouille sounds too much like stew to appeal to me in the summer. I want meals that are cool to prepare and cool to eat. This ratatouille is one of my favorite summer meals.
What It Is
Grilled vegetables tossed with pasta and tomatoes, basil, and garlic, topped with parmesano reggiano. Shouldn't all summer recipes include basil or tomatoes?
The Actual Detailed Recipe (tweaked from Alice Waters in The Art of Simple Food)
Ratatouille of Grilled Vegetables
Slice and brush with olive oil, sprinkle with salt:
2 medium zucchini
1 medium eggplant
2 sweet peppers
Grill over medium heat until the vegetables are soft and grill-marked. When cool enough to handle, chop into pieces. You can do this ahead of time - the whole dish can be eaten at room temperature (a good idea in the summer!) or even cold the next day as a salad.
(I didn't have an eggplant, but I did have radicchio. I once made and then lost a delicious recipe for grilled radicchio wrapped in proscuitto. I also used more zucchini and forgot to use an onion. The recipe, clearly, is flexible.)
Cook 12-16 oz. pasta al dente - rotini or penne, because long strands are hard to toss with small vegetables. When drained, toss with a smidge of olive oil to prevent sticky clumps.
Toss again with:
3 medium tomatoes, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped fine
handful basil, chopped
salt, pepper, maybe more olive oil
the grilled, cut up vegetables
Serve with freshly grated parmesano reggiano or the best you can find.
This makes a large bowl, perfect leftovers for lunch or a pasta salad for the next supper. The ratatouille with pasta is a complete meal, but sometimes we have melon or something creamy for dessert. I have also occasionally grilled sausage along with the vegetables and added that.