I’m sorry, it’s the truth. Total cop out, but DELICIOUS. Jay still kind of maintains a pescatarian kind of groove, and fish gets old, so we like to be totally meat-free a few nights a week, with me adding cottage cheese or a piece of chicken for some preggo protein.
So, this dish was born. It’s SUPER fresh, super easy, and you can make it the morning you’d like to have it or even the night before and it just gets better as it sits. I made this in advance for friends we had over for dinner, and it was great because all I had to do was boil pasta and heat up bread right before the meal.
You need butter, onion, garlic, a small eggplant, squash, and zucchini, tomato paste, cherry tomatoes, salt + pepper, and chicken or vegetable stock. OBVIOUSLY if you’re straight vegetarian use chicken stock (the comments, really, guys, I KNOW that chicken stock isn’t a vegetarian choice, this is just the choice I make for my family), and if you’d like this to be vegan feel free to use olive oil instead of butter. Fresh herbs + parm + pasta are nice too to make a whole dish, but the sauce is perfect over fish, with bread, over rice like a ratatouille – any way you’d like to create a meal!
First, we need to roast all of the veggies, THEN we use them to build the sauce. That’s why this is a great make-ahead option since there are a few steps to the dish. So, preheat the broiler to high. Then, arrange the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet. I use parchment paper for stuff like this to avoid nasty broiled food caked all over everything, but olive oil or cooking spray are fine too! Pop the tomatoes under the broiler.
I like to cut the vegetables super teeny to kind of mimic a meat sauce, but big pieces of veg are fine too! Just put them all on a different baking sheet when they’re cut up. And broil them too! Same deal: 10-20 minutes until you see some charred bits on the veggies. They don’t have to be cooked all the way, we just want some dark bits to give lots of flavor to the whole shooting match.
When the tomatoes and other veggies are prepped and broiled, we can build the sauce. Chop the onion, and add some butter to a skillet with the onion and a sprinkle of salt. Turn the heat to medium to gently cook the onions.
Taste the sauce and add salt, pepper, or crushed red pepper to your preference – since we didn’t use canned salted tomatoes like in a normal tomato sauce you might need extra salt, so don’t be bashful!
No matter how you plate this, though, it is so fresh, healthy, and really bright tasting. It’s basically an excuse to eat comfort food in the summer and justify it with a vegetable, which is totally legit.
- 2 pints whole cherry tomatoes
- 1 small eggplant, finely chopped
- 1 small zucchini, finely chopped
- 1 yellow squash, finely chopped
- 4 tablespoons butter, divided
- 1/2 onion, finely chopped
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 4 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock, plus more if needed
- salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper, to taste
- cooked pasta, cottage cheese, parmesan, and fresh basil, optional, for serving
- Preheat the broiler. Arrange the cherry tomatoes on a baking sheet with parchment paper or cooking spray in a single layer. Use 2 sheets if you need to. Arrange the eggplant, squash, and zucchini on a separate baking sheet in the same way. Working in batches, broil all the veggies for 10-20 minutes until blistered and blackened in spots.
- When the veggies are done, add the chopped onion and 2 tablespoons butter to a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the onion for 3 minutes to soften slightly, then add the garlic and tomato paste. Stir for 2 minutes, then add the stock and blistered veggies.
- Stir the sauce together and let simmer for 15 minutes to thicken, then add the rest of the butter. Taste, and add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to your preference - season liberally since there are no canned tomatoes in this dish.
- Serve over pasta and with any other accompaniments you enjoy. Eat!