Thursday, December 1, 2011

Rabbit, Rabbit, Ratatouille

Rabbit, rabbit! Do you say that for good luck at the beginning of every month? My dad still texts me to remind me to say it, and my whole family proudly declares that they remembered or pitifully admits they forgot. Today, Terry and I remembered; good thing, because we need a good month. November was rough.

But alas, if the first day serves as any indication, December might be a rough one, too. Terry is still swamped at work, getting home after seven almost every night and struggling through a minimum of 12 hours per day. On my end, today school was canceled because of our crazy winds in Southern California. If you live here, you're certainly aware, but I hear that we made some national news, too. Getting ready for work, we always watch KTLA for our news fix and to make sure the roads are clear (an absolute must in LA; you never know when your 10-minute commute can become two hours). Today they announced that a few schools in the San Gabriel Valley, where I work, were shut down. I actually laughed. "They're shutting down schools due to wind?" I thought. Ridiculous!

Well, ridiculous or not, it happened at my school too. Still, teachers are expected to show up, help send kids home, and stay until excused. After an hour of standing on street corners, waving signs that were utterly useless given the gusts of wind, and an hour of trying to find work that doesn't require a computer, we got the okay to leave around 10 am. Normally, I'd be thrilled to have an unexpected day off to run errands or blog, but today it took me two hours to navigate the roads lined with fallen trees. Plus, a girl rear-ended me at the only functioning stoplight in the valley (thankfully, no one was injured, including our cars, but I did have to give her a hug because she felt so bad). But after all that, I couldn't help but think that maybe this month won't be so bad after all. We got a call that our classes are canceled for tomorrow, too, and this time I get to skip the six-hour trip out to school and back. An extra, unexpected eight hours without having to call in sick? I can't exactly complain!

If your month started off on a down note, here's an awesome pick-me-up: The Top 25 Autocorrects of the Year. Warning: Inappropriate language and mental images you may not be able to get out of your head! Also, if you're reading at work, you WILL laugh out loud, so make sure you have a good lie for your boss as to why you're cracking up!

So tonight I worked on a Christmas gift project and then created a fun new recipe. We happened to have all the ingredients for ratatouille already, but I wanted to make the dish into an entree. Pasta it is! December doesn't look so bad after all.

Ratatouille Pasta
Serves 4-6
Ratatouille Pasta

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 eggplant
  • 3 zucchini squash
  • 1 28-ounce can plum tomatoes
  • 1 pound of whole-wheat pasta
  • 6 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Parmesan cheese (optional, for topping)
Set a large pot of water to boil. Add the pasta and cook according to the package directions. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. 

Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat one tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and cook until tender, about 10 minutes. Add the bell pepper and cook about 4-5 minutes. Dice the eggplant (you can also peel it, if you prefer) and zucchini into 1/2-inch cubes. Toss the other tablespoon of olive oil, eggplant, zucchini, and a dash of salt an pepper on a cookie sheet. Cook the zucchini and eggplant mixture for 10 minutes, tossing once. Set aside, and reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees.

While the vegetables are roasting, open the can of plum tomatoes, and either hand-chop or food processor-chop the tomatoes. Pour the tomatoes and their juices in the pan with the cooked onion and pepper. Add the garlic. Bring the tomato mixture to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 10 minutes.

Combine the cooked pasta, tomato mixture, roasted vegetables, and mozzarella in a large baking dish. Bake the whole dish at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Serve hot and top with Parmesan cheese, if desired. 

Excellent way to combat the chill from wind!

We really loved this pasta! The eggplant gave a sweet, tangy flavor, and the whole dish really did taste like ratatouille. The mozzarella was the perfect touch to make this pasta feel like a deliciously healthy comfort food. I hope you'll try it!


  1. Julie this looks DELICIOUS! I'm going to try this next week. :D

  2. @April Thanks, April! We should team up - I write the blog, you film the video! :-)

  3. I think it's funny that you had 2 days off...not sarcastic "snow days" like one of your grumpy colleagues suggested at a recent meeting, but "wind days." Good thing you have those extra days in your school year calendar ;)

    I'm also going to try the Ratatouille pasta!

  4. @Jenn Ha! You're so right! Wind days make for happy, well-rested teachers. :-) Hope you like the pasta!