This weekend I busted out my mandolin (the slicer not the instrument) and made ratatouille, yes the like in the movie. I was a bit sceptical but it turned out great! The issue was that I am a bit of a perfectionist and it took me FOREVER to lay out the pieces of zucchini, eggplant, red pepper and yellow squash so they matched. If I forgo my OCD ways this dish would be super fast to make.
I made some substitutions from the original recipe found here at the Smitten Kitchen website. I LOVE her recipes, check her out, she has some FINE food and with clear easy to follow instructions. The Smitten Kitchen has a cookbook coming out soon and I will definitely buy it. Anyway back to my version of her recipe. . .
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
2 cans diced tomato with garlic and onion
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant*
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper**
Few sprigs fresh thyme***
Salt and pepper
Few tablespoons sour cream****
I used a 11X13 cake pan but you can adjust the size of the pan to fit the amount of veggies.
Slice the veggies into 1/16 in slices (if you have a mandolin) or slice thinly with a knife if you don't. The ideal width is about as thick as a slice of pepperoni.
Drain the tomatoes and put in the bottom of the pan, mash slightly with a fork then stir in 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, spread evenly over the pan's surface .
Scatter the chopped onions and sliced garlic evenly across the tomatoes and olive oil mixture
Salt and pepper generously
On top of the tomato mixture arrange the slices of zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant and red pepper moving concentrically toward the center. (See illustration at the top of this page for clarification)
Drizzle with olive oil
Sprinkle thyme, salt and pepper
Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper (I used waxed paper to no ill effect)
Bake for 45-55 min until the vegetables have released their liquid but their structure is still intact.
I am not a fan of the mushy veggie so I cooked mine for 45 min and it was perfect.
Dish onto plates and top with a blob of sour cream.
I served this with french bread sprinkled with parmasan cheese and toasted under the broiler.
General note: If I were in a hurry I suppose I could just chop up the veggies and toss them with the tomatoes, onions and garlic, bake it and call it dinner but I like the way this looks.
*Eggplant note:I understand that there is a small rather cylindrical eggplant called an "Italian Eggplant" I couldn't find one of these at my local grocery so I just got a small one and then sliced the slices in thirds using the outside edged ones and freezing the center part for some other dish later.
**Red Pepper note: I didn't have a red pepper so I used some chopped red, yellow and green pepper I had in the freezer, it turned out just fine and looked pretty.
***Thyme note: I only had dried and it worked out just fine
****Sour Cream note: Origional recipe calls for goat cheese which I am sure is FANTASTIC but it was not in the budget this week and sour cream turned out yummy.