Ever since I watched Ratatouille when I was 10, I was in awe, not by Remy, ( okay, I admit, maybe a little but.. ) but of this dish that was cooked by Remy towards the end of the movie . I always thought this dish was some ingenious invention by some animator that worked for Pixar and never thought it was real .
Until last year , I saw the recipe of this dish on Smitten Kitchen and I knew i had to try it but somehow I never found the right occasion . My brother never liked aubergines and I didn’t want to exclude it from the recipe so neither of us chose to compromise . Anyway, since my brother wouldn’t be joining the family for dinner today, I took the opportunity to make Ratatouille’s Ratatouille !
In terms of taste, Ratatouille’s like a pasta without its noodles . Due to the fact that its soaked in tomato puree in the oven for half an hour or more, it absorbed all the tomato-ness and obtained all its sourness so it definitely is suitable as a side dish to accompany meat or carbohydrates like cous cous and such .
Even though it looks like a pretty complicated dish , it’s actually quite simple . You would just need to equip yourself with some chopping skills and creativity and you’re good to go !
Recipe envisioned by Smitten Kitchen
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup of canned or fresh tomato puree * The amount of puree needed depends on the size of your baking dish
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme * I used a tablespoon of dried thyme
Salt and pepper
Few tablespoons soft goat cheese, for serving ( optional )
1. Preheat your oven to 190 C
2. Measure and pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval or round baking dish ( * I used an 8 inch cake tin , hehe). Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.
3. Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash.
4.As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.
5. On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices.
6. Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables.
7.Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs with your fingertips, running them down the stem. Sprinkle the fresh thyme over the dish.
8. Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper or baking paper cut to fit inside.
9. Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, ( * Mine took 25 minutes or so ) until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubblingup around them.
10. Serve with a dab of soft goat cheese on top, alone, or with some crusty French bread, atop polenta, couscous, or your choice of grain.