Monita is a recipe tester for Food52 and a trusted source on General Cooking.
Something with rice - how about a risotto - here's a good recipe
What's the rest of your menu like? (Are you serving any fish, beef, pork, chicken, etc.?)
So far my menu is just the ratatouille, and some garlic bread. I need HALP.
Following on Monita's recommendation for a risotto... this would go well if shrimp is OK with your meal (although it tastes great without the shrimp, too). If you don't have preserved lemons, just substitute some diced fresh lemon pulp and freshly grated lemon rind.
Any simply grilled chicken, fish, beef or pork would be fine. It just depends on how much time you have and your budget.
pierino is a trusted source on General Cooking and Tough Love.
Meatless options could be couscous or tabbouleh. But if you are meatatarian grilled lamb chops are hard to top.
The first thought is what do you like and what can you find near you of excellent quality? Ratatouille with it's wide array of flavors will go with most anything. It is one of the three most famous dishes of provencal cuisine so that might be a theme you want to pick up on. Fish and Lamb stand out as more provencal than chicken and pork but they eat all of them. Perhaps an olive sauce or aioli of some kind. White beans or potatoes tossed in olive oil
and herbs are both staples of the area. For dessert perhaps something featuring lemons or almonds.
A longtime 'go to' summer dinner for company is a grilled boneless leg of lamb (marinated with olive oil, garlic, lemon, fresh rosemary and/or thyme, s&p) - served with ratatouille. Just a great combination of flavors. If you don't want to do meat, you could do grilled wedges of polenta - the ratatouille almost becomes its 'sauce' - maybe with some goat cheese crumbled over the top.
Forgot to mention - ratatouille and roast chicken are another favorite. Add some good bread, a simple green salad and you've got a great meal.
A fried egg on top (and maybe some rice underneath)!
White rice topped with ratatouille and served with meatloaf.
June is a trusted source on General Cooking.
You said you wanted "help," but not whether you want to include an animal protein! I'm in the camp with the grilled lamb or roast chicken. A grilled, butterflied leg of lamb with Provencal herbs is a thing of beauty, and virtually calls out for ratatouille.
How about a rice pilaf?
This recipe sounds good with ratatouille. From The Washington Post, July 11 2007.
The Washington Post, July 11, 2007
This creamy side dish could be the right accompaniment for your next grilled beef, pork or fish -- especially those marinated with Latin flavors.
The original recipe called for 2 cups of heavy cream, but a combination of nonfat half-and-half and light cream works, too.
3 cups uncooked medium-grain rice + 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder + Pinch salt + 1 pound grated Monterey jack cheese + 1 to 2 4.5-ounce cans diced green chili peppers, with their juice + 2 cups heavy cream (may substitute 1 cup nonfat half-and-half and 1 cup light cream)
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 3-quart casserole dish (preferably deep). Cook the rice according to package directions; when the water comes to a boil, add the garlic powder and salt to taste. Spoon about one-quarter of the cooked rice into the casserole, then cover with about one-quarter of the grated cheese. Sprinkle about one-quarter of the chili peppers and their juice over the cheese, then pour 1/2 cup of the heavy cream (or half-and-half/cream mixture) evenly over the layer. Complete 3 more layers. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the cheese is bubbly and starts to brown.
Nancy is a food writer, historian, and author of many books, her most recent being The New Mediterranean Diet Cookbook. She also raises olives and makes oil in Tuscany, providing firsthand experience for her forthcoming book about olive oil.
Back in the olde country, ratatouille or its Sicilian counterpart caponata, is usually served on its own, with bread or toast, as a first course; otherwise, it's a side itself, to be served as many have noted with a simply grilled meat, chicken, or fish. The combination with lamb seems almost ordained by the kitchen god, but it could take the form of meaty chops, simply grilled, rather than a roast, which might be too much in hot weather.
Who says you need a side dish? Ratatouille and garlic bread is perfect on its own! (But I must say a poached egg on top never hurt anything.)
If you're not looking for a protein, ratatouille's great on top of a cheesy polenta.
I say let it stand solo. Instead of the garlic bread, though, I would just get a really thick, rustic, chewy loaf of bread (tuscan, ciabatta, sourdough, etc.), slice it into big 1-inch slices, and grill them with some olive oil. No garlic needed; ratatouille is flavorful enough.
But maybe something cold to go with it...like some fresh grapes or lightly dressed peaches (with olive oil and a little balsamic).
this is probably too late, but what if you serve it over creamy polenta?
could be a really hearty, yummy combo.
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