1 hour 30 minutes
My parents came for dinner this past weekend and I wanted to create something hearty and reminiscent of the harvest. My first year’s attempt at vegetable gardening has been producing dozens and dozens of tomatoes, but I was finally able to harvest a huge zucchini and a few bell peppers. After a visit to our friend’s home and garden, we were given a summer squash and I picked up some eggplant at the farmer’s market. What does that sound like? Ratatouille!
I will be honest, my Ratatouille looks the way it does because I watched that Disney movie when I was younger. I was in college then and working on making my cuisine more elevated, and I wanted to give it a try. I fell in love with the dish and have been developing it slowly since then. Instead of using tomatoes, I like to use tomato paste at the bottom of my baking dish. I find it imparts a nice smoky flavor to the dish and makes it less soupy. Serve it alone, or with a tablespoon of chèvre on top. I like to use leftovers for open faced sandwiches. Ratatouille keeps and reheats very well.
I recommend a mandolin, however I am afraid of them so I carefully slice super thin slices with a knife. If you have the choice, I always pick vegetables that are similar in circumference to each other. If they vary in size from middle to end, I make a stack of small, medium and large pieces and use the largest on the exterior and smallest on the interior of the dish.
We served the dish with some goat cheese, crusty olive bread and a big pot of Roast Tomato Braised Lentils. We had a plum cobbler for dessert. Stay tuned for the cobbler recipe!
- 1 large zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1 large yellow squash, thinly sliced
- 2 medium eggplant, thinly sliced
- 2-3 bell peppers, thinly sliced
- 3 small onions, thinly sliced
- 4 ounces tomato paste
- 4 cloves garlic, sliced
- 1 teaspoon cumin powder
- 4 sprigs thyme
- salt and pepper
- olive oil
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
- Slice up all of the vegetables.
- Spread the tomato paste evenly on the bottom of a baking dish large enough to fit the veggies. Sprinkle garlic slices on top.
- Arrange the vegetables carefully in some kind of pattern. I like to arrange in three lines for rectangular dishes or two concentric circles for round dishes. I like to do the following order: zucchini, yellow squash, eggplant, onion, bell pepper, repeat. If you find you have too little or too much of one vegetable, you can always skip it every other time or double up.
- Sprinkle thyme and cumin on top.
- Season generously with salt and pepper and drizzle generously with olive oil.
- Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour until the vegetables are soft and have drooped a little.