In my house, we are in love with the movie Ratatouille. It’s probably no surprise, since the movie is all about how anyone can cook and create great food. We even quote long sections of it to each other while cooking similar items to the movie. Slightly embarrassing, but hey, we have a kid! So that’s my excuse!
I will not go so far as to say that I like rats because of the movie. Maybe if I met one who could create interesting dishes and always cleaned up after himself. But even then, probably not. However, the best thing to come out of that movie is the ratatouille at the end. It’s so tantalizing that I want to jump into the screen and enjoy it with Anton Ego. Since that’s not possible, I searched and quickly found Smitten Kitchen’s version. I have made it quite a few times, and every single time, my daughter gets excited to eat vegetables. And if that’s not a miracle, I don’t know what is!
Now, we love meat in this house, so I added some small, thinly sliced salami to the recipe. And I love this risotto (I just make a half recipe), so we always serve them together. But you can have the dish with any kind of grain. The leftovers, put into a warm sandwich, are also heavenly.
What you need:
You can use some or all of the vegetables here. Choose a combination you enjoy!
1-2 Roma tomatoes
1 green zucchini
1 yellow zucchini
1 small eggplant (I used a Chinese eggplant)
1 long, thin red pepper (or a few of the baby sweet peppers)
optional – 50g thinly sliced salami
1 cup tomato sauce
1/2 onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed or diced
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
fresh or dried thyme
What to do:
Thinly slice the tomatoes, zucchinis, eggplant and peppers (or whatever combination you are using). If you have a mandoline, this is a great time to use it. Put them on a plate to make assembling the ratatouille easier. (you can do this ahead)
Preheat the oven to 375F. Mix the tomato sauce, onion, garlic and 1 Tbsp olive oil in the bottom of an oval baking pan (about 10 inches long). Layer the vegetables on top. Start at the outside and layer them concentrically, leaving only a little bit of each vegetable visible, alternating the vegetables. There may be some pieces that don’t fit. Drizzle the top with the other tablespoon of olive oil and then sprinkle on the thyme.
Place a piece of parchment paper that has been cut to fit on top.* Bake the ratatouille for 45-55 minutes, until the tomato sauce is bubbly and the veggies are tender. Serve on rice, couscous, or any other grain! And top with feta cheese or parmesan.
*To cut a piece of parchment paper to fit, place the baking dish on some parchment paper, trace around it, and then cut on your line.