Thursday, February 28, 2013

Vegetable Ragout

Okay so this is one I tried the other night because I was looking to make a healthy choice, and use up some veggies in our fridge. I put it on ravioli, so that probably wasn't the most healthy option one could use, but it's a lot better than a white sauce or some such (I used to just toss the ravioli in butter, parmesan, and some garlic powder...definitely not a good choice!) You could easily put it on whole wheat spaghetti, or any other pasta out there.  I do recommend you serve it with some kind of protein.  Because I was having it with a mixture of beef and cheese raviolis (half a bag of each kind) we had plenty in the dish, but if you were serving it with spaghetti, I would maybe add a chicken breast or something.

Anyway, here goes.

Vegetable Ragout

1 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, sliced and separated (I'll include some handy tips below)
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 Japanese eggplants (the long skinny ones) or 1 regular eggplant, peeled and diced
1 jar or can of plain traditional marinara sauce (not the four cheese or the meat flavored, though the mushroom would work well)
salt and pepper

Slice the little rooty end off the leek, and take off the tough green top (you just want the tender white part which will be about 4 inches long).  Slice the white part thinly and place the slices in a bowl of cold water.  Once all of the slices are in the cold water, then use your fingers to separate the layers. This hopefully will loosen the dirt and grit that gets between the layers of the leek and the dirt should sink to the bottom of the bowl while the leek should float to the top.  Skim off the top and dry well with a paper towel or clean dish towel.

Place the eggplant in a microwave safe dish and liberally sprinkle with sea salt. Microwave for 6 minutes, then drain off the excess liquid and set aside. (this helps get rid of excess water from the eggplant so the sauce doesn't end up really wet.)

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil. Add leeks and saute for awhile til they reduce in size and become tender. Add carrots and continue to stir, keep going til the carrots become tender but do not lose their texture or become mushy. Add the eggplant and stir and cook for a bit, and then add your marinara.  Add salt and pepper to taste, and if you like, feel free to add some granulated garlic or oregano.

Serve over your favorite pasta, or on chicken or whatever you like. Enjoy!

**A serving of this recipe by itself without pasta or chicken, etc., is roughly 70 calories, depending on the marinara sauce you use. Much less than if you used a meat sauce made from ground beef or even ground turkey.**

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