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Recipe of the week: Summertime ratatouille from David Bull

Addie Broyles

A few weeks ago, we debuted a new Recipe of the Week feature in the Sunday life section. We’ve been retooling all kinds of things in our print and digital products, and I’m particularly excited to see this addition. Readers are always telling us how much they enjoy the recipes in the Wednesday section, so we are showcasing a recipe a week in the Sunday print edition, too.

I’ll be running those recipes on Relish Austin, too, but I’m a few weeks behind in sharing them here. We started the series with puffy pancakes for Father’s Day from Yvette van Boven, followed by a cold cucumber soba from Jeanine Donofrio, who writes one of my favorite Austin food blogs, Love and Lemons.

In yesterday’s paper, we ran this recipe from Austin chef David Bull. For the past three years, Bull has been helping the Capital Area Food Bank of Texas and partner agency El Buen Samaritano spread the word about the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Summer Food Service Program, an initiative to bridge the summer meal gap that many low-income children face when school is out of session.

At the kick-off event, Bull comes up with a meal that meets the nutritional guidelines required by the program but costs less than $3.41 a meal and is appealing to dozens of summer camp participants at El Buen. At last week’s event, Bull, who has five kids of his own, served this summer ratatouille and pasta Parmesan with a poached egg, a kid-friendly dish that just might encourage them to eat vegetables they might not otherwise touch. The ratatouille is best served the day after it is made, so make ahead of time, chill overnight and reheat before serving, if possible.

Summertime Ratatouille with a Poached Egg and Pasta Parmesan

For the ratatouille:

1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil, divided

6 garlic cloves, smashed and divided

1/2 bunch basil, stems removed, leaves cut into thin strips and divided, plus extra for garnish

1 eggplant, small diced

Salt and pepper to taste

1 zucchini, small diced

1 yellow squash, small diced

2 cups tomato juice

1 tsp. saffron (optional)

4 roma tomatoes, peeled, seeded and roughly chopped

For the pasta Parmesan and eggs:

1 lb. pappardelle pasta

2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese

4 eggs

1/4 cup white wine vinegar

In a large sauce pot add half of the olive oil over medium heat. Add 1/2 of the garlic cloves and 1/2 of the basil stems. Add the eggplant, season with salt and pepper and pan roast until golden brown. Remove eggplant from the pan and reserve.

Using the same pan repeat the process with the remaining olive oil, basil, zucchini and yellow squash. Combine the squash with the eggplant and reserve away from the heat.

In the same sauce pan, add the tomato juice and saffron. Reduce this liquid to one cup over medium heat. Once reduced add the diced tomatoes then the squash mixture back to the sauce and cook for 10-15 minutes over low heat until the squash becomes slightly tender. Add the rest of the basil and remove from heat. Season the ratatouille again with salt and pepper to taste if necessary and chill completely.

In a large stock pot over high heat bring 1 1/2 gallons of water to a boil. Add the pappardelle pasta to the boiling water and cook for 8-10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking water. Place the cooked pasta and reserved pasta water cooking water back to the pot and add the Parmesan cheese. Cook until just warmed through.

Bring a 1/2 gallon of water and vinegar to a simmer and gently poach four eggs.

Place the warm pasta in the center of a large bowl. Place a large spoonful of the ratatouille in the center of the pasta forming a nest to hold the egg. Place the poached egg into the center of the ratatouille and garnish with extra basil, if desired. Serves 4.

— Chef David Bull of Congress, Bar Congress, Second Bar & Kitchen