I am probably much more pleased with myself for this than I deserve to be, but what is a food blog good for if not self-aggrandizement? Nothing as far as I’m concerned.
So here’s the story: I made too much ratatouille. Much too much ratatouille. My dinner guests ate ratatouille. I ate ratatouille. I ate more ratatouille. I got really, really sick of ratatouille.
Then it struck me, like a blow to the head with a basil-wrapped brick (props to Douglas Adams on that one): ratatouille is essentially an especially chunky pasta sauce. A pound of pasta, a little olive oil, a little reserved pasta water, leftover ratatouille, and some salt and I was on my way.
I used my new favorite pasta shape, chiocciole, which, as it happens, is italian for “snails.” I bet you can crack that case yourself. My only regret is that I didn’t have any ricotta salata lying around. It’s semi-soft version of ricotta, I think it would make the perfect addition to this. (And, in fact, pasta alla norma, a sicilian staple, combines eggplant and ricotta salata.)
So this certainly isn’t revolutionary, but I want you to take a point from it: Don’t ever feel bound by cookbooks or recipes or, god forbid, tradition. If two things seem like they would go well together, they probably will. So put them together. And then eat them.
You don’t need to serve your special egg, brie, and beet pie to guests, but there’s not reason not to try making it on your own. Well, except that that particular one sounds pretty gross. You weirdo.