Napolese’s Ratatouille + Calligraphy with Kim

One of my friends told me about Napolese‘s (Patachou’s Italian offspring) ratatouille and I had to attempt to re-create it. I went on Saturday night and split the ratatouille and the double chopped salad (best salad in town!) and I was one happy camper. Both are ten dollars and worth so much more. The veggies in the ratatouille were perfectly cooked and the tomato sauce was flavorful and ideal to mop up with the pizza crusts they serve it with. The dish is topped with parm and pistachios, which is what makes this version unique. I did a quick google search to see if pistachios and ratatouille is a thing and it really isn’t. Pistachios are Italian, so I see what Martha (Hoover) did here. The salty crunch was a perfect complement to the veggies.

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I also attended my friend Kim’s calligraphy class on Sunday and I am so happy she moved to Indy. She was originally in PR (like me), but discovered she could make a living doing what she is most passionate about: calligraphy. Her skills amaze me. She had donuts from General American Donut (hello salted caramel donut!) and Starbucks. There were fresh flowers on each table and she had folders complete with calligraphy guides, your nibs, and ink to take home with you. I am by no means a professional after three hours with Kim, but I enjoyed it and plan to keep up with it and practice different styles. She has several variations and all of them are named after cocktails. Are you in love with Kim yet or what? She has a few more classes coming up, so check out her website here and her Etsy shop here. I am pretty sure I still have a doodle drawing she did in class when we were in DC for a semester in college. I knew she would be famous some day.

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The Speak Easy

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LIBBY’S VERSION OF NAPOLESE RATATOUILLE

Recipe via the kitchn

2 large eggplants
1 yellow onion
3 medium bell peppers (I used the little peppers)
2 zucchinis
4 large tomatoes (I used a can of plum tomatoes from TJ’s)
1 1/2 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
3 to 4 cloves garlic
1 bay leaf
3 to 4 sprigs thyme
1/4 cup basil

parm and pistachios for garnish

Salt and pepper

Cut the eggplants into cubes. Transfer them to a strainer set over a bowl and toss with a tablespoon of salt. Let the eggplant sit.

Dice the onions and roughly chop the peppers, zucchinis, and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Mince the garlic. The vegetables will be cooked in batches, so keep each one in a separate bowl.

Warm a teaspoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Sauté until the onions have softened and are just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the peppers and continue cooking until the peppers have also softened, about another 5 minutes. Transfer the onions and peppers to a bowl.

Add another teaspoon of oil to the pot and sauté the zucchini with a generous pinch of salt until the zucchini has softened and is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to the bowl with the onions and peppers.

Rinse the eggplant under running water and squeeze the cubes gently with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Warm two teaspoons of oil in the pan and sauté the eggplant until it has softened and has begun to turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to the bowl with the other vegetables.

Warm another teaspoon of olive oil in the pan and sauté the garlic until it is fragrant and just starting to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, and whole sprigs of thyme.

Add all of the vegetables back into the pan and stir until everything. Bring the stew to a simmer, then turn down the heat to low. Stirring occasionally, simmer for at least 20 minutes or up to 1 1/2 hours.

Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Just before taking the ratatouille off the heat, stir in the basil. Top with lots of parm and the pistachios.

Leftovers can be refrigerated for a week or frozen for up to 3 months. I think the ratatouille is better the second day!

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The toppings – I added homemade croutons from Wildwood Market, but a baguette is perfect with the ratatouille

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PSA: Whole Foods has Schlafly’s pumpkin beer, aka one of God’s gifts to man (and woman)

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