Not only is Ratatouille one of my favorite movies, but it is now one of my favorite veggie dishes.
So a few Daring Bakers were chatting in the secret forum about savory baking challenges and it escalated into an idea for someone to begin a group that was similar to Daring Bakers, only for cooking. So two Daring Bakers, Temperance of High on the Hog, and Lori of Lipsmacking Goodness got on the ball and did an amazing job at putting together Recipes to Rival, the newest (since last month) cooking group that picks a challenge every month and plays with their food all the time! Well, at least I play with my food.
So, as a debut cooking challenge Temperance and Lori picked something I'd always wanted to make, Ratatouille. I loved it, AJ loved it, my sister loved it (and she hates tomatoes), and I'm sure that if I had a dog, it'd love it too. We ate it as a main dish for left-over night. It was perfect for a summer dinner alongside some rice.
When we have meals without meat, AJ calls it "elf food". I'm not quite sure which type of elf he means, I always thought elves ate Christmas cookies and milk (those that are lucky to be employed by the guy with a red wool suit) and of course sugar, thanks to the Christmas movie that delves into elf culture. :) Anyway, apparently AJ thinks elves are vegetarians. Maybe because it's impossible for them to catch any type of animal to eat, they're all so much bigger and very threatening.
Here's the recipe with my alterations, which were minuscule.
This is a recipe that is so full of flavor, I will surely be making this again although not as pretty. I had a lot of veggies left over (the squash, eggplant and zucchini). Also if you do try this recipe be sure to make it in advance and time your preparations, letting it cook in the oven for those whole two hours let's all those yummy flavors intensify. Believe me, it's worth the wait.
from the Disney Movie, Rataouille
A popular dish from the French region of Provence that combines eggplant, tomatoes, onions, bell peppers, zucchini, garlic and herbs --all simmered in olive oil. The vegetables can vary according to the cook. They can be cooked together, or cooked separately and then combined and heated briefly together. Ratatouille can be served hot, cold or at room temperature, either as a side dish or as an appetizer with bread or crackers.
from NY TIMES
1/2 red pepper, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 yellow pepper, seeds and ribs removed
1/2 orange pepper, seeds and ribs removed
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
3 tomatoes (about 12 ounces total weight), peeled, seeded, and finely diced, juices reserved
1 sprig thyme, chopped
1 sprig rosemary, chopped
1 sprig flat-leaf parsley, chopped
1/2 a bay leaf
1 zucchini (4 to 5 ounces) sliced in 1/16-inch rounds
1 Japanese eggplant, (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
1 yellow squash (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
4 Roma tomatoes, sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic 2 teaspoons olive oil
1/8teaspoon thyme leaves
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
Assorted fresh herbs (rosemary and thyme)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper.
1. For piperade, heat oven to 450 degrees. Place pepper halves on a foil-lined sheet, cut side down. Roast until skin loosens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop finely.
2. Combine oil, garlic, and onion in medium skillet over low heat until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add tomatoes, their juices, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf. Simmer over low heat until very soft and very little liquid remains, about 10 minutes, do not brown; add peppers and simmer to soften them. Season to taste with salt, and discard herbs. Reserve tablespoon of mixture and spread remainder in bottom of an 8-inch skillet.
3. For vegetables, heat oven to 275 degrees. Down center of pan, arrange a strip of 8 alternating slices of vegetables over piperade, overlapping so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed. Around the center strip, overlap vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. Repeat until pan is filled; all vegetables may not be needed.
4. Mix garlic, oil, and thyme leaves in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over vegetables. Cover pan with foil and crimp edges to seal well. Bake until vegetables are tender when tested with a paring knife, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more. (Lightly cover with foil if it starts to brown.) If there is excess liquid in pan, place over medium heat on stove until reduced. (At this point it may be cooled, covered and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve cold or reheat in 350-degree oven until warm.)
About to go in the oven.
5. For vinaigrette, combine reserved piperade, oil, vinegar, herbs, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl.
6. To serve, heat broiler and place byaldi underneath until lightly browned. Slice in quarters and very carefully lift onto plate with offset spatula. Turn spatula 90 degrees, guiding byaldi into fan shape. Drizzle vinaigrette around plate. Serve hot.
Yield: 4 servings
bon appétit! C'est un plat délicieux, je l'adore!
Soundtrack: AJ, Bug and I were watching Spirited Away. I've been watching quite a few Miyazaki movies lately. They're fantastic; which one is your favorite?
Be sure to check out the other little chefs that made this delicious dish!
Here's the link to the original recipe (that's not far different from my own) and look! They used my photo! I was sore proud.