Winter Ratatouille (Caponata Invernale)

This recipe takes some time to put together but feeds a crowd once you’ve got it done. It can be served warm or at room temperature. The shaved ricotta salata on top is optional, but a nice savory touch to complement the sweetness of the roasted vegetables. The ratatouille can be made 3 or 4 days in advance, and keeps well. It can be served on its own as an appetizer, or makes a great side dish or a tasty topping for bruschetta.

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Yield: Serves 10 or more as a side dish

Ingredients

  • ¾ cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 medium parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1 pound)
  • 1 small celery root, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1¼ pounds)
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 1-inch chunks
  • 3 medium carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1 pound)
  • 1 pound sunchokes, peeled if the skin is thick or wrinkly and halved
  • 1 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks (about 1½ pounds)
  • 3 small onions, cut into 6 wedges each through the root end
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt, plus more to taste
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 4 anchovy fillets, chopped
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed and peeled
  • 8 fresh sage leaves
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1½ cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup chicken stock (page 148)
  • ⅓ cup drained capers in brine
  • 3-ounce piece ricotta salata, for shaving (optional)

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the parsnips, and cook and toss until the edges begin to soften and caramelize, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add them to a large roasting pan.
  4. Repeat this procedure with each vegetable (cooking each type separately, about 5 minutes per batch) and a tablespoon of oil at a time, until all of the vegetables are in the roasting pan.
  5. Season with the 2 teaspoons kosher salt and some black pepper.
  6. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons more oil. Toss well to combine.
  7. Return the skillet to the heat, and increase to medium high.
  8. Add the remaining 3 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the anchovies, garlic, and sage.
  9. Once they begin to sizzle, clear a space in the pan and add the tomato paste.
  10. Cook and stir the tomato paste in that spot until it is toasted and darkens a shade or two, about 1 minute.
  11. Add the wine, and stir to combine.
  12. Bring to a boil, and add the stock and capers.
  13. Boil until reduced by half, about 5 minutes.
  14. Pour this over the vegetables in the roasting pan, and roast on the bottom rack of the oven, tossing occasionally, until the vegetables are tender and glazed, about 20 minutes.
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