Ratatouille, from the Occitan, ratatolha, and the French verb touiller which means “to toss” is thought of as a peasant’s dish because of its simplicity–a bunch of cheap veggies stewed together as a side dish. It has since then been complexed in several variations: baking the vegetables in a casserole, each one cooked separately (insisted on by many chefs, Julia Child being one of them), recombining them in a simmering pot, or used as a filling for crepes! It was made into a luxuriously gourmet meal in its appearance in the Pixar film of the same name — one of our favorites (duh).
In one of our most productive cooking evenings of the semester, we decided to tackle this delicious looking dish using the recipe from Smitten Kitchen found here.
Here’s how it turned out:
Served on top of a bed of wheat berries and topped with soft goat cheese.
Paired with a glass of shiraz.
1 Yellow Squash
1 Red Pepper
1/2 Red onion, diced, rough chop
1-2 c. Tomato Purée or pre-made Tomato sauce
2-3 cloves Garlic, minced
1 T. Thyme
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 T. Olive Oil, divided
This dish is actually not as difficult as it may seem. First, we thinly sliced our vegetables. If we had one, we would’ve definitely used a mandoline, but instead we relied on our knife skills.
In a casserole dish, we poured in our tomato purée. Then, we mixed in our diced onions and minced garlic into the sauce. We poured the first T. of olive oil into the sauce.
We carefully placed our vegetables in order onto the dish starting with the larger eggplant rounds then yellow squash, zucchini, and the red pepper.
As the zucchini and squash rounds became smaller, we doubled them up to match the large eggplant rounds.
Then we topped the vegetables with some dried thyme, salt, and black pepper. Then, we evenly poured the olive oil on top. We baked the ratatouille in the oven at 375°F for about 40-50 minutes until all of the vegetables were tender.
We served our ratatouille hot on a bed of cooked wheat berries topped with soft goat cheese and some fresh rosemary. The wine-o tendencies and messy flour countertop are, of course, optional. The flour was from our ravioli that we made later that night.
This summer recipe can be made as a wonderful vegetarian entrée or as a delightful side dish! Enjoy!
*Note: To make this dish a bit more filling, you can make a second row of vegetables in a deeper casserole dish. After the first layer of veggies and you’ve oiled them and seasoned, you can pour some more tomato sauce and make a new layer. Just make sure to oil and season those vegetables as well!
Mimi & Francisco
Ps. This dish was also featured on Mimi’s food blog here!