Ratatouille with Ground Beef over Pasta

If you have kids then the word “Ratatouille” likely conjures up images from that movie with a mouse cooking. Don’t worry, no mice were harmed or used in this recipe. This dish is a twist on the classic meat sauce and pasta dish. Try this tonight for something different and sneaky. Not only will everyone love it, but also you can pat yourself on the back for getting your kids to eat at least 7 kinds of vegetables, even eggplant!

You’ll need:

  • Eggplant (1 large, diced)
  • Zucchini (1 large, diced)
  • Yellow squash (1 large, diced)
  • Tomatoes (2-3 large, diced)
  • Onion (2 medium, diced)
  • Garlic (3-5 cloves, diced)

  • Ground beef (1 pound) (optional for a vegetarian meal)
  • Pasta sauce or tomato paste (1/2 jar, about 1 cup)
  • Fresh basil (1/2 cup, chopped)
  • Pasta (1 box of any kind)
  • Garlic powder (1 tsp)
  • Salt & Pepper (1 tsp, to taste)
  • 20 minutes prep

  • 20 minutes cooking
  • Serves 6-8

Step 1: Slice and dice

  1. Slice each eggplant, zucchini, squash, and  tomatoes in half
  2. Turn each over, flat side down, and cut slices length-wise about 1/2 inch wide
  3. Keep the slices together, and rotate a half turn
  4. Cut the slices into bite-sized pieces, about 1/2 inch wide

  5. This is a great way to teach your kids on how to handle a knife, “please, keep those fingers back!”
  6. Finely dice the onion and garlic
  7. For a fun variation, use cherry tomatoes and cut in half or keep whole

Step 2: Sauté and simmer

  1. Start the water boiling for the pasta, throw in a pinch of salt, and cook “al dente”; following the instructions on the box
  2. Cook the ground beef in a large sauté pan or wok
  3. Add the onion and garlic
  4. Season with salt, pepper, and garlic powder
  5. Stir it up
  6. Simmer for about 3 minutes until all of the beef has browned

  7. Add the diced eggplant, zucchini, squash
  8. Stir it up again
  9. Simmer for about 5 minutes until starting to soften
  10. Add the tomatoes and pasta sauce
  11. You guessed it! Stir it up again
  12. Simmer for about 10-15 minutes on medium heat until the zucchinis are cooked
  13. Keep stirring occasionally
  14. Turn off the heat and add the chopped basil
  15. Stir the basil in carefully

Step 3: Plate and eat

  1. Place a portion of the pasta in the center of the plate
  2. Spoon the ratatouille over the pasta, making sure you get plenty of sauce
  3. Top with grated Parmesan cheese
  4. Garnish with a fresh basil leaf
  5. Serve with fresh bread, a glass of Portuguese red wine, and enjoy!

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Comments: 3

  1. Nathan October 14, 2011 at 3:18 pm Reply

    Thanks Leah and Robin for the feedback! Glad you enjoyed it.

  2. Robin Mancil October 14, 2011 at 3:09 pm Reply

    This dish was really good! I didn’t have yellow squash so I substituted baby bella mushrooms. It was awesome!! Will definitely be a repeat recipe for me!

  3. Leah September 17, 2011 at 3:39 pm Reply

    Oh wow, that was incredible! I made mine without beef because I didn’t have any, and I didn’t use garlic powder either because, again, I didn’t have any. I used whole grain rotini for the pasta.

    I will definitely add this recipe into regular rotation! It was so easy, and I love that includes so many vegetables!

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