I must admit, I never knew what Ratatouille was until I watched the movie, Ratatouille.
Despite my interest in languages and culinary dishes, I was completely misguided on the content of this meal: the dish sounded something akin to Italian pasta. I was wrong…really wrong. About as far off from being right as a cook can be (but, despite my shame, I am apparently not alone in this!).
Ratatouille is NOT a meal from Italy or a meal involving pasta. Rather, it is a French provincial dish famous for its roasted savory vegetables such as eggplant, zucchini, squash, tomatoes, and peppers and tasty spices. Cooked together, Ratatouille is juicy, flavorful, and oh-so-clearly delicious. In fact, if France were to have a succotash-like dish, then ratatouille might actually fit the bill (ratatouille gained historic popularity during times of depression when there were little but garden vegetables to cook).
Served by itself as a vegetarian friendly entree, or over cous cous, ratatouille offers a low-fat, light and yet surprisingly hardy clearly delicious meal.
This variation of Ratatouille comes from my new favorite food blog, Smitten Kitchen (the original can be found here). Although Deb’s recipe does not call for tomato, tomato sauce, and parsley, I have added them here for personal preference. Also, my addition of these roasted vegetables call back to Julia Childs’s variation, although I do not call for cooks to boil and peel the tomatoes.
* 1/2 onion, finely chopped
* 2-3 garlic cloves, pressed or minced
* 1 cup tomato puree or sauce
* 2 tablespoons olive oil
* 1 eggplant (medium size)
* 2 tomatoes, thinly sliced
* Feta cheese, to taste
* 1 zucchini
* 1 squash
* 1 red bell pepper
* 1 tablespoon parsley, chopped
* Fresh thyme, destemmed
* salt and pepper, to taste
1.) Begin by prepping your vegetables: wash and thinly slice into circular rounds (i.e., squash and zucchini); de-stem red pepper and thinly cut into circular slices.
2.) Chop parsley, fresh thyme, mince (or press garlic), and measure tomato sauce.
3.) Preheat oven to 375F. Pour tomato sauce (or puree) into a standard large casserole dish and sprinkle with chopped onions and minced garlic.
4.) Arrange Ratatouille: lay zucchini, squash, tomato, eggplant, and red pepper slices in a circular pattern around the casserole dish. Sprinkle with feta cheese, parsley, thyme, and freshly cracked pepper and salt. Drizzle with olive oil.
5.) Bake in oven for 45-55 minutes, or until vegetables have released their juices are cooked, but still retain structure (kind of like the “al dente” of zucchini).
6.) Remove from oven and allow to cool for five minutes. Plate and serve. Makes 6-10. Enjoy!
Written by: Helana Brigman