We loved the Disney movie Ratatouille. And our daughter, who loves to cook, wanted me to spin our traditional recipe for ratatouille (which is made on the stove top) into the constructed version that Remy makes in the movie (which requires the dish to be baked in the oven). So here it is, and we make it often, as it is simple, can be made any season, and it’s fresh and healthy.
- 1/2 c. tomato paste or pureed fresh roasted tomatoes
- 2 cloves garlic, smashed and diced
- 1/4 c. finely chopped onion
- 1 T. herbs de Provence
- 1 long eggplant, thinly sliced
- 1 long zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1 long yellow squash, thinly sliced
- 1 long red bell pepper, thinly sliced
- 1/8 t. ground coriander seeds
- Fleur de sel sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/3 c. olive oil
- Few tablespoons soft goat cheese or sour cream, and a cup or more of cooked couscous, for serving
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. 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.
Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.
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, approximately 1/16-inch thick.
On top of 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. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.
Season the vegetables generously with spices, salt and pepper. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and spices.
Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside. (This is optional, but will result in the vegetables not browning and keeping their vibrant colors like in the movie.)
Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, 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 bubbling up around them.
Serve with a dallop of soft goat cheese or sour cream on top, on a bed of cooked couscous.
In France, this is how ratatouille is made, so feel free to try it unconstructed and to add other seasonal vegetables.