Ratatouille

The best dish for any veggie or tomato loving people in your life. While this dish is inspired by Disney/Pixar’s Ratatouille, I really didn’t feel the need to make it until I had some at Church & State in Downtown Los Angeles. This recipe is almost exactly the same as it was written from Eat This Poem. She has some great photos, take a look at her post. When I saw the photos I immediately pinned this recipe. You’ll need plenty of time to prepare this dish, but it will impress any dinner party.

Total Time: ~ 4 hours (Prep – 30 minutes | Active – 30 minutes | Wait – 3 hours)

Special Equipment:

Cast Iron Skillet
Blender

Ingredients (serves 6):

For the pepper sauce
1/2 yellow pepper, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 orange pepper, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 red pepper, seeds and ribs removed
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 large garlic clove, mined
1/2 small onion, roughly chopped
1 14.5-ounce can San Marzano tomatoes
Salt and freshly ground pepper
5 sprigs thyme, divided
2 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf

For the ratatouille
1 large Japanese eggplant
1 large zucchini
1 large yellow squash
4 to 5 roma tomatoes
1 to 2 teaspoons aged balsamic vinegar

Instructions:

For the Sauce

  1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place the peppers cut-side down on a foil-lined baking sheet, and roast until tender and the skins begin to loosen, about 20 minutes. Remove and let rest until cool enough to touch, then roughly chop.
  2. Reduce the oven temperature to 275 degrees F.
  3. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to a 10-inch cast iron skillet (I used a 9-inch since all I had, just had some extra veggies and sauce left over) and warm over low heat. Add the garlic, onion, and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook until soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the tomatoes and their juices, two sprigs of thyme, the parsley, and bay leaf. Simmer until very little liquid remains, about 10-15 minutes.  Add the chopped peppers and simmer for another couple of minutes. Season to taste with salt, discard herbs, and turn off the heat.
  4. Allow the sauce to cool slightly, then add to a blender. Puree until very smooth and season with additional salt and pepper. Reserve 1/4 cup of sauce for the vinaigrette, and pour the rest in the bottom of the cast-iron pan.

For the ratatouille

  1. While the sauce cooks, it’s a good time to prepare your vegetables. Thinly slice the eggplant, zucchini and squash on a mandoline or a sharp knife and place in a large bowl. I used a ceramic knife, the mandoline did not slice as thinly as I wanted. Thinly slice the tomatoes with a sharp pairing knife. Don’t worry if a few slices fall apart, they can still be used!
  2. This next step may feel tedious, but think of it as assembly a rainbow! Take five and ten minutes to neatly arrange slices of vegetables around a pan, overlapping them slightly.
  3. Starting from the outer edge of the pan, arrange alternating slices of tomatoes, zucchini, squash, and eggplant. Allow the slices to overlap so that about 1/4-inch of each slice is exposed. Repeat until the pan is filled. If you run out of zucchini, keep moving forward without it. If you complete two rounds and have extra yellow squash, fill the small opening with it. Don’t worry if some of your tomato slices are too thin or too thick. The end result, will be beautiful, regardless.
  4. Scatter the remaining thyme slices over the top and drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of oil. Season with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few grinds of pepper. Cover the pan with foil and bake until the vegetables are tender, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake for another 30 minutes.
  5. To make the vinaigrette, combine the reserved pepper sauce with 1 tablespoon oil and balsamic vinegar. Whisk together, then drizzle around the plate just before serving.

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Digital guru by day, food junkie by night exploring the world one bite at a time.