July 15, 2010

Ratatouille's Ratatouille

One of my family's favorite movies is Ratatouille. I often wondered about the dish that Remy served the food critic. I have had ratatouille before but I have only had it as a stew and as a side dish. I decided to do some research on it and came across something very interesting. The true name of the dish is Confit Byaldi, created by Thomas Keller. The New York Times posted the recipe in June of 2007 here. It seems a little too time consuming for my busy little life, so I did further research and came across Smitten Kitchen's version of it. I made a few changes, i.e., addition of balsamic vinegar, addition of grated parmesan and addition of red pepper flakes. Leave out the red pepper flakes if you do not care for spicy food. My daughter was thrilled with the fact that it is just like the movie, so she ate every last bite and loved it -- and so did I! This is so tasty and healthy, too!

  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced thin
  • 1 c tomato puree
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1 small Italian eggplant
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 small yellow squash
  • 1 long red bell pepper
  • Few sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 tsp crushed red pepper flakes, or to taste
  • 4 tbsp parmesan cheese, divided
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Pour tomato puree in the bottom of a 1 1/2-qt oval baking dish. Drop sliced garlic cloves and onion into the sauce. Stir in 1 tbsp olive oil and generously season with salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Sprinkle 2 tbsp parmesan cheese evenly over all.
  • Trim the ends off of the eggplant, zucchini and squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off of the red bell pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact (like a tube).
  • On a mandoline, slice the zucchini, squash, red bell pepper and eggplant (slice the eggplant last as it will begin to brown) into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.
  • Atop the tomato sauce, arrange the slices concentrically from the outer edges to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of flat surface is visible.
  • Drizzle the remaining olive oil and balsamic vinegar over the vegetables and generously season with salt, pepper and thyme. Sprinkle 2 tbsp parmesan over all evenly.
  • Cover the dish with tin foil.
  • Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked with some structure left so they are not totally limp. The tomato sauce should be bubbling over the sides of the vegetables. The vegetables should not brown at the edges.
  • Serve over couscous, pasta or rice.
  • Enjoy!

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