The second 37 Cooks challenged that I participated in was for Sciabica Olive Oil. Sciabica Olive Oil is a family run business which prepares their olive oil in the Italian tradition of old-world quality and they say that their oils are “California Sunshine in A Bottle”. Sciabica proves that you do not need to go to Italy or Spain to get good quality and fantastic tasting olive oil. Sciabica generously provided each of the 37 Cooks with two bottles of their choice. I chose the Manzanillo Variety Fall Harvest and the Garlic Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Both of which were simply delicious. I always like to taste my olive oils by themselves before using them in either cooking or baking – this helps me get an idea of what I want to use them for and what flavors I think would go well together.
For this challenge we were asked to again prepare two dishes with the olive oils that we choose. Below is my first recipe and I can’t even count how many recipes I made after this which made it difficult to choose my second one (will be posted soon). This olive oil was so delicious and I’m happy but surprised I have any left!
Ratatouille – Serves 4
Sciabica Garlic Olive Oil* 3 tablespoons, divided
Eggplant, 3/4 inch dice 1 cup
Onion*, White, 3/4 inch dice 1/2 cup
Garlic, Minced 2-3 large cloves (1-2 tablespoons)
Red Pepper Flakes 1/4-1/2 teaspoons
Baby Bella Mushrooms, quartered 1 cup
Bell Pepper, Yellow, 3/4 inch dice 1/2 cup
Bell Pepper, Orange, 3/4 inch dice 1/2 cup
Zucchini, 3/4 inch dice 1/2 Cup
Tomatoes, Roma, 1/2 inch dice 4-6 each
or pasta sauce of your choice 1/2 – 1 cup
Parmesan Cheese, freshly grated To taste
Salt, Kosher To taste
Pepper To taste
Gluten-free pasta – we use corn or brown rice pasta.
- Gather all the ingredients and equipment.
- Trim ends from eggplant. Cut eggplant into ¾ inch dice. Sprinkle with kosher salt and allow to drain for 15 minutes. Rinse thoroughly.
- Cut mushrooms in halves or quarters and set aside
- Cut onions, peppers and zucchini in to ¾ inch dice and set aside.
- Cut Roma tomatoes into 1/2 inch dice, remove seeds and set aside.
- Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet or sauce pan. Add onions, garlic and chili flakes. Sauté until translucent.
- Add remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil the eggplant and sauté until lightly browned.
- Add all other vegetables. Season generously and simmer for 15 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Stir in basil chiffonade.
- Stir in tomatoes or tomato sauce and cook for additional 10 minutes.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Serve as is or over pasta.
- Top with freshly grated Parmesan cheese
*B was out-of-town so that is why there are onions in this dish, but if you are cooking for someone who suffers from onion allergy like B does then just omit those and add some additional vegetables. You can also use regular olive oil if you can not find the garlic olive oil.