Classic Bolognese Sauce

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Once every week we have  Pasta Night at home! After many vegetarian pasta sauces over the past weeks, it was time for a meat ragù sauce – the classic Bolognese sauce, originating from Bologna, Italy.

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Many pasta sauce recipes only call for canned tomatoes. However, I like using both fresh and canned tomatoes. This time I used canned Plum tomatoes and fresh Roma tomatoes.

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The classic vegetable mix for a Bolognese consists of diced celery, carrots and onions.

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After sweating the veggies with the garlic, add the ground beef and cook until nicely browned. For the ground beef, I used the Burger Mix from my local delivery service Santa Monica Merchant . The mix is made from grass fed beef, not too lean and so tasty!

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Add the fresh chopped tomatoes first …. Then add the canned ones…

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You need to let it simmer for at least 90 minutes. However, I prefer the full 2 hours. The longer you let it cook, the thicker it will get and all the flavors will get into the sauce.

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I convinced the hubs to make some Tagliatelle with me. And actually it was very much fun!

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Don’t feel intimidated by making homemade pasta. It’s not too difficult and so much worth the taste. But also don’t feel like you have to have homemade pasta. Just buy either fresh or a dried product of egg pasta. Italians only serve Bolognese with Tagliatelle or other broad, flat pasta shapes such as Papardelle or Fettuccine – but never with Spaghetti. The broader noodles soak up the sauce much better than their thinner colleagues ;)

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Bon Appetito!

Classic Bolognese Sauce

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 2 hours

Total Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 6 portions

Serving Size: 1 cup sauce plus 1 portion pasta

Classic Bolognese Sauce

A classic using grass fed beef and both fresh and canned tomatoes!

Ingredients

  • 1 medium white onion, finely diced
  • 2-3 carrots, finely diced
  • 2-3 stalks celery, finely diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lb grass-fed ground beef
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • ½ cup wine (white or red) or sub for vegetable broth
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb San Marzano (or Roma) tomatoes, diced
  • 1 large can crushed San Marzano (or plum) tomatoes
  • 1 bay leaf

Instructions

In a Dutch oven or a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat.

Sauté onions and garlic for 4 minutes.

Add carrots and celery and sauté for another 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently.

Add the ground beef and cook for 6-8 minutes, while constantly stirring and breaking the meat into bite sized pieces.

Add the tomato paste, mix very well and cook for another 30 seconds.

Pour in the wine (or broth), add thyme leaves and season with salt, black pepper and red pepper flakes.

Let cook until wine has reduced significantly.

Add the fresh tomatoes first and let cook for 2 minutes.

Then add the canned tomatoes.

Stir everything well.

Add the bay leaf.

Let simmer without a lid for 90-120 minutes.

The Bolognese should be nice and thick.

Serve with your favorite pasta!

Note: If there are any leftovers at all, freeze the sauce for the next pasta night!

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/classic-bolognese-sauce/

Pan-seared Fish Fillet with Fennel and Nectarines

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I recently signed up for another subscription… No, not for a magazine. For a local seafood service  that has 1 pound of freshly caught fish ready for me to pick up at the Farmer’s Market every Wednesday. I started last Wednesday. Last week’s caught was yellowtail, right here from the coast. Yellowtail is also known as Ahi Tuna. It is high in healthy omega 3 fats .

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But no worries, if yellowtail is not available at your fishmonger. You can use any other firm fish fillet (think Mahi Mahi etc.) for the recipe!

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photo 3I decided to serve this rich and flavorful fish just with something light and picked a mix of fennel – which goes along any fish, yum! – and nectarines.  And dill is the perfect partner for fish and fennel anyways… The red pepper flakes give a nice kick  :)

The dish easy great for a summer weeknight, ready in less than 20 minutes! Start searing the fillets skin side down first.

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Then flip and finish them on the flesh side while the fennel nectarine mix is sautéing together with the dill and the fennel fronds. photo 3-2Et voilà! Dinner for 2 is ready!

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Yellowtail with Fennel and Nectarines

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10 minutes

Total Time: 20 minutes

Serving Size: 2 people

Yellowtail with Fennel and Nectarines

A perfect weeknight summer dish - quick and light!

Ingredients

  • 1 lbs fish fillet – I used yellowtail (Mahi Mahi or any other firm fish fillet will work as well)
  • red pepper flakes
  • sea salt
  • black pepper
  • 2 tsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 bulb fennel, stalks removed (but reserve fennel fronds), quartered and sliced in wedges
  • 1 tsp agave syrup
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) vegetable broth
  • ½ yellow nectarine, sliced and thin wedges
  • ½ bunch fresh dill, chopped

Instructions

Season fish with red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper.

In a skillet, heat 1 tsp olive oil over medium high and sauté fennel for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a large pan, heat the remaining olive oil over medium-high, and place fish (skin side down, if any) into it. Sear for 6 minutes. Flip to cook for another 4 minutes. When done, remove from heat and let rest.

Season fennel with red pepper flakes and add agave syrup. Add vegetable broth and let cook covered with lid for 5 minutes. Add chopped fennel fronds, dill and nectarines. Increase heat for 2 more minutes. Season to taste.

Spoon fennel nectarine mix onto plates and place 1 fish fillet on each plate.

Enjoy!

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/fish-fillet-with-fennel-and-nectarines/

Veggies & Heirloom Tomato Pasta Sauce

photo 2-1We love pasta, sometimes just the regular (white) spaghetti, but also a whole-wheat kind or a gluten-free one, such as these Fusili made from brown rice and quinoa! And not to forget the low-carb “fake” pasta aka Zoodles made from spiraled Zucchini…

A tomato-based sauce that goes along with all of them is always great, but can get boring if it’s always the same Marinara Sauce… Last week I made a Roma Tomato Sugo which was awesome, so this week I tweaked the recipe a little bit, using different kinds of Heirloom tomatoes and added some veggies to it.

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The vegetables – onions, carrots, celery – and the bay leaf are the classic ingredients for a Italian Bolognese sauce – minus the meat ;)… (A classic Bolognese recipe will be my next “project”).

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The key is to get the veggies to soften before adding the Heirloom tomatoes and then let the whole thing simmer until it has thickened and the flavors have incorporated into the sauce!

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Veggies & Heirloom Tomato Pasta Sauce

Yield: 4 cups of sauce

Serving Size: 1 cup

Veggies & Heirloom Tomato Pasta Sauce

Veggies and Heirloom Tomatoes for a twist on a classic Marinara Sauce!

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ white onion, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 carrot, finely diced
  • 2 stalks of celery, finely diced
  • 1 serrano chile, seeded and finely diced (optional)
  • 2 lbs assorted heirloom tomatoes, coarsely diced
  • 2 Tbs fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp coarse sea salt
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Instructions

In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add onion, garlic, carrots, celery, and chiles and sauté until onions are translucent and carrots have softened, for 7-10 minutes.

Add the chopped tomatoes, thyme and bay leaf. Season with salt and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil.

Reduce heat, add balsamic vinegar and let simmer for 30-50 minutes w/o lid, until the sauce is nice and thick.

Serve with your favorite pasta (regular or glutenfree) or over zoodles.

Optional, add some fresh basil for garnish.

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/veggies-heirloom-tomato-pasta-sauce/

Streusel Plum Mini Cakes

Almost weekend… And time for some baking for “Kaffee & Kuchen” (coffee & cake), traditionally enjoyed on Sunday afternoons in Germany :)

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For the second time, I made these mini streusel cakes with plums that are in season here. But you can use whatever fruit you like: other stone fruit like apricots or peaches, or apples and pears…

The crumble topping (German: Streusel) is a great partner for the soft fruit.

And the small cakes are just a good portion size for one! Although they will be gone very quickly ;)

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Streusel Plum Mini Cakes

Streusel Plum Mini Cakes

A traditional German cake with a vegan twist!

Ingredients

    For the batter:
  • ½ cup (100 gram) sugar
  • ½ cup (=1 stick) minus 1 Tbsp (100 gram) margarine (vegan butter spread), melted
  • 3 Tbsps (45 gram) unsweetened apple sauce
  • 1 cup + 2 tsps (250 gram) all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • ½ cup (120ml) non-dairy milk (almond, soy, oat, coconut …)
  • For the topping:
  • 10 small plums
  • ¾ cup (90 gram) flour
  • 1/3 cup (70 gram) sugar
  • 1 package vanilla sugar
  • ¼ cup (60 gram) cold vegan margarine

Instructions

In your stand mixer, mix sugar and margarine until fluffy. Add the other ingredients and mix into a smooth batter.

Grease 8-10 small springforms / tarte pans or other small cake pans (Alternatively, you can also make just one big pie in a 11” springform). Divide batter into pans and smooth the surface.

Wash plums, cut in half and remove pits. Cut into thin wedges and divide evenly onto each cake batter.

Preheat oven to 390F / 200C.

For the “Streusel”: Combine flour, sugar, vanilla sugar and cold margarine and, using your clean fingers or the kneading hooks, mix everything until crumbles form. Divide crumbles over the plums.

Bake the small cakes for 30-40 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before removing from the pans.

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/streusel-plum-mini-cakes/

 

 

 

Blueberry Pancakes

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These pancakes are just awesome! And very quickly to make. And they are vegan…

For a special breakfast or brunch, you can make them in about 30 minutes, serve them hot off the skillet. And you can use your favorite berries or a combination of them.

The organic blueberries that I got at the Farmers Market were just great!

photo 1In a bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Slowly whisk in vegan milk, until you get a smooth, spreadable batter.

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Coat large skillet with coconut oil spray, and heat over medium heat. Scoop 1/4 cup (60ml) batter into hot pan, and sprinkle with 2 Tbs. blueberries.

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Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until batter begins to bubble and pancake edges start to brown.

photo 5-1Flip, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more, or until cooked through and browned on both sides. Repeat with remaining batter and blueberries.photo 4-1photo 2-1

Serve the pancakes hot with a drizzle of maple syrup – or freeze them in layers, let thaw and reheat before serving.

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We had them for breakfast with some strawberries, raspberries and a drizzle of maple syrup this morning. Very fancy for a Wednesday ;-)

How do you like your pancakes?

Blueberry Pancakes

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 35 minutes

Yield: 6 pancakes

Blueberry Pancakes

A vegan sweet breakfast option!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (120g) all-purpose flour
  • 3 Tbs. (40g) organic cane sugar
  • 1 Tbs. baking powder, Dr. Oetker or Rumford
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 1 cup (240ml) unsweetened non-dairy milk (almond, coconut, soy etc.)
  • 1 cup (150g) fresh organic blueberries

Instructions

In a bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt.

Slowly whisk in vegan milk, until you get a smooth, spreadable batter.

Coat large skillet with coconut oil spray, and heat over medium heat.

Scoop 1/4 cup (60ml) batter into hot pan, and sprinkle with 2 Tbs. blueberries.

Cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until batter begins to bubble and pancake edges start to brown.

Flip, and cook 2 to 3 minutes more, or until cooked through and browned on both sides.

Repeat with remaining batter and blueberries.

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/blueberry-pancakes/

 

4-Ingredient Roma Tomato Sugo

Guess which is the Best Farmers Market in the United States according to Conde Nast Traveler? ;-)

Last week’s shopping at the Santa Monica Farmers Market included two pounds of  locally grown San Marzano tomatoes. This type of Roma tomatoes is perfect for a classic tomato sauce. I also bought some fresh basil, and then I immediately went home into the kitchen.

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photo 3I chopped the tomatoes, minced the garlic and sliced some basil leaves – how easy is that?

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Olive oil into the skillet and there you go!

photo 2-1photo 3-1It needs some time for the sauce to cook and to thicken – the longer the better.

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No worries, if you don’t get the San Marzano’s, but maybe look for Roma tomatoes as they don’t turn out as watery as other varietals of tomatoes.

As it turned, the next day we were going to do a 5k / 10k run along the beach, so the tomato sugo was perfect for our pre-race pasta night!

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4-Ingredient Roma Tomato Sugo

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

4-Ingredient Roma Tomato Sugo

An easy and classic tomato sauce!

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs San Marzano tomatoes – or Roma tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 handful fresh basil leaves, thinly sliced
  • (Staples: salt and black pepper to taste)

Instructions

In a large saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat.

Add the garlic and cook for a minute then add one tablespoon of fresh basil. Cook for a minute.

Add in the chopped tomatoes, season to taste with salt and pepper.

Simmer for 30-50 minutes while stirring occasionally with a wooden spoon. The longer you cook it for the thicker it'll become.

Check seasoning and let rest warm till needed or remove, let cool, and store in the refrigerator. Will keep over a week or you can freeze it for use when tomatoes aren't in season.

Serve with your favorite pasta! Enjoy!

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/4-ingredient-roma-tomato-sugo/

Sunday Breakfast Almond Banana Rolls

We love our Sunday mornings! Most of the time, we walk our dog along the beach and then come back to enjoy a little something, something sweet… Basically because we will head out for a bike ride and a hearty brunch afterwards :)

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So usually Saturday is baking time for a yeasty cake, a berry pie, muffins, or like this time little Almond Banana Rolls!

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You would never think they are vegan. They still contain cane sugar, white flour and a good amount of non-dairy fat. So they are fully satisfying, without eggs and dairy. Also, the crunchy almonds and the smashed banana taste heavenly good.

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We enjoyed the rolls with homemade raspberry jam, along with a bowl of more raspberries and strawberries. Then we went on for our bike ride through hilly Santa Monica and Brentwood.

How was your Sunday?

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Sunday Breakfast Almond Banana Rolls

Cook Time: 25 minutes

Total Time: 90 minutes

Yield: 8-10 rolls

Sunday Breakfast Almond Banana Rolls

Delicious and sweet vegan rolls, best enjoyed with homemade jam or fruit spread - perfect for your Sunday breakfast or brunch!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup + 2 tsps (250 gram) all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup (60ml) non-dairy milk (almond, soy, oat, coconut, …), lukewarm
  • 3 Tbsps. (40 gram) Margarine or coconut oil, melted
  • 1 ½ tsps. instant yeast
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 3 Tbsps (40 gram) sugar
  • 1 ripe banana, smashed with a fork
  • ¼ cup (30 gram) raw slivered almonds, coarsely chopped, then slightly browned in a skillet
  • ½ tsp vanilla extract

Instructions

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine all the ingredients and knead until a smooth dough forms. Let rest at a warm place until dough has doubled in size (about 40 minutes).

Divide dough into 8-10 portions and shape them into rolls. Place rolls next to each other into a greased baking pan or a silicone mold.

Let them rise for another 15 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 390F / 200C.

Bake the mini rolls on the middle rack of the oven for 22-25 minutes until golden brown. Remove from oven and let cool for 15 minutes. Best when served warm!

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/almond-banana-rolls/

Herbed Cauliflower Mash

I know… Not the prettiest photo, but really tasty!

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This cauliflower purré makes a wonderful stand in for mashed potatoes! It is low-carb, yet creamy and a satisfying side dish that goes well with everything from roasted veggies to pan seared fish fillet and even Bratwurst…

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Mr. RPK actually loves mashed potatoes, but I got him on this cauliflower mash.

My secret ingredient is freshly ground nutmeg (which I also use for the mashed potatoes).

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I added fresh herbs and green onions, not just for better taste but also to add something green to the white cauliflower. Looks so pretty!

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Ingredients:

1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets

2 green onions, thinly sliced

1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves

1 Tbsp chives, thinly sliced

½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg

1 Tbsp olive oil

salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, bring water to boil. Add cauliflower florets and cook for 10-15 minutes.

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In the meantime, sauté green onions in a small skillet for 2-3 minutes until they soften. Remove from heat and mix with chives and thyme.

Drain the cauliflower and place it back into the pot.

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Add nutmeg, herb mix, olive oil and s & p. Mix until well combined.

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Using a hand mixer, purré everything into a mash.

Adjust seasoning if needed.

For dinner, we enjoyed the cauli mash with Italian sausages…

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Next day’s lunch we had the leftovers with arugula salad and roasted veggies. Delish!

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Herbed Cauliflower Mash

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 25 minutes

Herbed Cauliflower Mash

A low-carb stand in for mashed potatoes. The nutmeg and the herbs make the difference!

Ingredients

  • 1 head of cauliflower, cut into small florets
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
  • 1 Tbsp chives, thinly sliced
  • ½ tsp freshly ground nutmeg
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

In a large pot, bring water to boil. Add cauliflower florets and cook for 10-15 minutes.

In the meantime, sauté green onions in a small skillet for 2-3 minutes until they soften.

Remove from heat and mix with chives and thyme.

Drain the cauliflower and place it back into the pot.

Add nutmeg, herb mix, olive oil and s & p.

Mix until well combined.

Using a hand mixer, purré everything into a mash.

Adjust seasoning if needed.

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/herbed-cauliflower-mash/

Avocado Cucumber Dip with Dill

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Most of you will know that avocado is full of healthy fats. Did you also know that it is a tree fruit? And that it is said to be the butter for vegans? ;-)

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Well, I am not vegan, but I just like plant-based dishes and options. And as my husband doesn’t eat dairy, this dip is a creamy non-dairy option! He likes it along oven-roasted potatoes – instead of anything that contains sour cream…

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It is wonderful with crudités or oven-roasted fingerling potatoes, but also as a spread on toast. You can even use it as a dressing on firmer lettuce like kale or radicchio!

The cucumber is great to balance out the creaminess of the avocado with some freshness.

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And dill pairs well with cucumbers anyway!

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When using it as a dressing, just 1-2 tablespoons of the dip (depending on how much salad you are going to make) and add more lemon juice. No need to add more oil – you will get enough healthy fats from the avocado itself already!

 

Ingredients:

1 ripe Hass avocado (or any variety), peeled and chopped

½ Hothouse cucumber (about ½ cup), chopped, peeled and seeded

1-2 Tbsps minced fresh dill

1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice

1 tsp pure maple syrup

salt and pepper to taste

 

Directions:

Place all the ingredients in a mini food processor or chopper. Alternatively, in a high container and use your hand mixer – I did that, works wonderfully!

Add ¼ cup (60ml) and blend until mixture is very smooth.

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Season with salt and pepper.

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Et voilà!

And for you? Avocado – yeah or nay?

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Avocado Cucumber Dip with Dill

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Total Time: 15 minutes

Yield: 1 cup

This dip is wonderful with crudités or oven-roasted fingerling potatoes, but also as a spread on toast. You can even use it as a dressing on firmer lettuce like kale or radicchio, whisk some of the dip with more fresh lemon juice!

Ingredients

  • 1 ripe Hass avocado (or any variety), peeled and chopped
  • ½ Hothouse cucumber (about ½ cup), chopped, peeled and seeded
  • 1-2 Tbsps minced fresh dill
  • 1 Tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tsp pure maple syrup
  • salt
  • pepper

Instructions

Place all the ingredients in a mini food processor or chopper. Alternatively, in a high container and use your hand mixer – I did that, works wonderfully!

Add ¼ cup (60ml) and blend until mixture is very smooth.

Season with salt and pepper.

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/avocado-cucumber-dip-with-dill/

Ratatouille

RATATOUILLE – a vegetable sauce from the Provence traditionally made with various bell peppers…

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I placed this recipe in the pasta category, as it is just a great pasta sauce! Today we had it with some quinoa rice pasta for lunch. 

But we love the Ratatouille as a side dish along with seafood, grilled chicken or steak.

 Anyway, it’s quick and easy – so you better double the recipe so you can enjoy over several meals, with or without pasta, vegetarian or with a nice piece of fish or meat.

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Ingredients:
1 Tbsp olive oil
½ red onion, chopped
1 small red chile, stem and seeds removed, finely chopped
2 red bell peppers, stem and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
1 yellow bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
1 yellow zucchini squash, coarsely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 Tbsps tomato paste
1/3 cup (80ml) water
2 tsps balsamic vinegar
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper

Directions:
In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high. Sauté onions and chile for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add bell peppers, zucchini squash and garlic and sauté for another 10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened a bit. Add rosemary and tomato paste and stir until well combined. Add water. Lower heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add the balsamic vinegar and let it cook for another 1-2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

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Serve with your favorite pasta or as a side dish along with European sea bass, grilled chicken or steak.

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What is your favorite dish that includes bell peppers?

Ratatouille

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 4 cups of sauce

Serving Size: 4

Ratatouille

RATATOUILLE - a vegetable sauce from the Provence traditionally made with various bell peppers...

Ingredients

  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • ½ red onion, chopped
  • 1 small red chile, stem and seeds removed, finely chopped
  • 2 red bell peppers, stem and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, stem and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
  • 1 yellow zucchini squash, coarsely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 Tbsps tomato paste
  • 1/3 cup (80ml) water
  • 2 tsps balsamic vinegar
  • sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium-high.

Sauté onions and chile for about 5 minutes, until onions are translucent.

Add bell peppers, zucchini squash and garlic and sauté for another 10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened a bit.

Add rosemary and tomato paste and stir until well combined.

Add water. Lower heat and let simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Add the balsamic vinegar and let it cook for another 1-2 minutes.

Season with salt and pepper.

Serve with your favorite pasta or as a side dish along with European sea bass, grilled chicken or steak.

http://blog.realpeoplekitchen.com/ratatouille/