Ratatouille

French cooking has always appeared to be a daunting task that one needs to be skilled and trained to really get it right. However there are some dishes which anyone can make at home. Ratatouille is one of those dishes.

The first time I made ratatouille I tried my best to make it look pretty as well as taste delicious. I got the taste factor down but sadly I could not get it to look nice. Luckily I have since been able to perfect my technique.

I have learned that in order to make a circular dish I need to stop worrying how it looks while layering each slice down next to each other. The outcome is where you will see your hard work pay off.

Ratatouille is the perfect summer side dish because now is the time when all the needed ingredients are ready to harvest and you will likely get the freshest produce you need. I was lucky enough to pick up most of my ingredients from locally sourced farms, and the herbs came from my own herb garden.

While traditional ratatouille is served as a stew I love the look of a layered casserole version. Its almost to pretty too eat (always but not quite). Ratatouille is perfect to serve with any protein, my favourite being roasted or grilled chicken breast and some pasta or bread to sop up the amazing tomato base.

Most people may think of the Disney film Ratatouille when this dish is mentioned and I remember the movie with fondness, mainly because of all the amazing looking food prepared in it. I think I may actually have to go and find the movie again and rewatch it as it has been many years since I last saw it. Perhaps I will become more inspired to master some other French dishes.

 

Ratatouille
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 8
 
Ingredients
  • For the sauce:
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 bell peppers, diced (we used red and yellow)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 1 can (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil (approx 8-10 leaves), chiffonade
  • For the sliced veggies:
  • 2 eggplants
  • 6 Roma tomatoes
  • 2 yellow squash
  • 2 zucchinis
  • For the herb seasoning:
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil (approx 8-10 leaves), chiffonade
  • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven for 375˚F/190˚C.
  2. Slice the eggplants, Roma tomatoes, squash, and zucchini into approximately 1/16-inch rounds, then set aside.
  3. Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a 12-inch oven safe pan. Sauté onions, garlic, and bell peppers until soft. Season with salt and pepper, then add crushed tomatoes. Stir until ingredients are fully incorporated. Turn off the heat, then add basil. Stir once more, then smooth the surface of the sauce with your spatula.
  4. Arrange the sliced veggies in alternating patterns, (e.g. eggplant, tomato, squash, zucchini) on top of the sauce from the outer edge to the inside of the pan. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Mix herb seasoning and pour over the vegetables.
  6. Cover the pan with tin foil and bake for 40 minutes. After 40 minutes, uncover, then bake for an additional 20 minutes. The vegetables should be soft.
  7. Serve while hot as a main dish, or as a side dish. The ratatouille is also excellent the next day.
  8. Enjoy!

Enjoy!

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