Ratatouille’s Rataouille

One of my favorite veggie dishes is Ratatouille’s Ratatouille. There are many ways to make this, but I like it this particular way. Once I started making it on a regular basis, it become second hand – and something you can do instead of spaghetti and tomato sauce.

First, you really do need a mandoline. I found one in my kitchen about a year ago, and it has been my lifeline ever since. It’s perfect for salads, pizza toppings, potatoes, and even fruit. You’ll get perfect uniform pieces, which let’s face it, won’t appear from my hand.

So. Slice into very very thin slices:

1/2 Japanese Eggplant

1/2 Squash

1/2 Zucchini

1/2 Red Pepper

Chop up 1/2 of an onion and 2-4 pieces of garlic. This will be mixed into the tomato sauce in the dish.

You’ll also need salt, pepper and wax paper.

Pour about a cup of crushed tomato sauce at the bottom of a baking dish. I use a rectangular dish, but you can use a circular, oval, or square. Add to the sauce the chopped up onions, garlic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and season with salt and pepper.

Then line up your veggies on top of the sauce. I make a system on my plate, counterclockwise or whatever, so that I don’t forget my order. Start with the squash and place it down in the corner of the dish. Next take the zucchini and set it on top of the squash so the edge of the squash is still visible. You want the edge of each vegetable to be layered underneath the next. Part of the deliciousness of this dish is the appearance, so take your time. It’s worth it in the end. Then do the same with your eggplant and red pepper. The red pepper is weird. Because it’s not a full circle, I use only a small piece, ultimately tricking the eye… it’s there, but there’s nothing underneath the next vegetable. It just adds color. If you don’t like that, you can use mushroom instead.

Place the veggies around the dish in a snake like shape, covering the sides first and then work your way inside. You want the last row to be on top in the middle. I have to make two rows in the middle because my dish is large.

The tricky part now is cutting the wax paper to fit inside the dish. Whatever shape it is, place the wax paper on top, trace with a knife and cut to fit inside the dish. You want the wax paper to sit on top of the veggies, and create a shield.

Bake a 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes until the tomato sauce is visible on the wax paper. You want it to be absorbed by the veggies and create a solid mass. Let cool down, scoop out and serve. It pairs well with fish, pasta or goat cheese.

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