Margarita's Party Recipes

Halloween 2003

Eyeball Ragout

One of my friends and frequent guest is a vegetarian and I like the idea of cooking vegetable dishes for her. I wouldn't make them for myself, but it gives me the opportunity to try new things (cooking-wise). I found this recipe for roasted vegetable ragout in the November (Thanksgiving) issue of Bon Appetite. Of course, it wasn't very Halloweenish but I figured I could dress it up by adding a few plastic eyeballs and calling it Eyeball Ragout. I waited until the last minute to get the eyeballs, so of course I couldn't find them, so I ended up buying chocolate eyeballs (round chocolate candy covered in foil and painted like eyeballs). I think that worked out well enough, some people seemed to be grossed out at the idea of eating it (which was the effect I was going for).

The dish itself was good (I'm told), though not great. My guests would eat it again, but they are not going to be counting the days until the next time I serve it.

I modified the original recipe in a couple of ways. It asked for a fennel bulb but I couldn't find it at my local supermarket, so I skipped it (that proved to be a good move as my vegetarian friend is not fond of fennel). I also used dried rosemary instead of fresh and skipped the basil. Herbs can be very expensive if you buy them fresh instead of growing them, so I skip them when I think I can get away with it. Who knows? Maybe with these additions the dish would have been better.

Roasted Vegetable Ragout


  • 10 oz fresh crimini mushrooms, quartered
  • 3 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 1 red bell pepper, coarsely chopped
  • 1 parsnip, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tbsp. rosemary
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 zucchini, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 28-oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1/4 cup Italian parsley, chopped


    Pre-heat oven to 400F. Grease a deep baking sheet.

    Spread mushrooms, carrots, bell pepper, parsnip and garlic in a single layer on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with olive oil, rosemary, salt and pepper. Roast until the vegetables are tender, about 1 hour. Add zucchini, broth and canned tomatoes. Mix and bake until the zucchini is tender, about 30 minutes. Sprinkle with parsley and serve.

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