Monday, March 24, 2008

Last week I met a new recipe....

....and that new recipe tried to talk me into becoming a vegetarian. So I've known for ages that Ratatouille is a vegetable soup but I don't recall ever having had any. I was checking out a fabulous cooking site, Smitten Kitchen, and I was very excited about a recipe they posted, Ratatouille's Ratatouille, which was an attempt to clone the Ratatouille that Remy made in the Disney animated movie that came out not too long ago. I always loved the "Dinner and a Movie" idea that TBS would do every friday night where they would show a movie and make a meal that tied in nicely with the movie. It is somewhat similar to what I used to do with a friend for our 80s movie nite (remind me to post a blog about that soon....) although the meals were definitely not gourmet.
So I tried the recipe and loved it! It is not your traditional Ratatouille but I can only imagine that I would like this better! So pretty, so healthy, so tasty. This blog is starting to serve as my online cookbook and if I were to ever make a cookbook of family favorites, this would definitely be in it. Here is the recipe, with my small modifications.

Ratatouille’s Ratatouille
modified from Smitten Kitchen
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
Salt and pepper
1/2 tsp ground coriander
3/4 tsp dried basil
1 1/2 cup tomato puree (such as Pomi) or I used crushed tomatoes 1 1/2 -2 cups
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant (if you can find it, get “Italian Eggplants” that are less than half the size of regular ones)
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Few tablespoons soft goat cheese, for serving

1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2) Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval (but in my case rectangular) baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the minced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce with basil, coriander, and season generously with salt and pepper.
3) 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.
4) 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.
5) 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. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.
6) 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.
7) Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside. (Tricky, I know, but the hardest thing about this.) 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 dab of soft goat cheese on top, alone, or with some crusty French bread, atop polenta, couscous, or your choice of grain.

We ate it with couscous boiled in chicken broth. It was very good and very filling!


  1. Hmmm! This looks pretty good - and much more appetizing when made in a kitchen without a rat! Thanks for sharing :)

  2. I LOVE Smitten Kitchen!

  3. that looks so good. I'm always trying to think of things that taste good with couscous


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