When I first started reading about Catalan food, this is the dish that I kept seeing at the top of every “you must try this” dish. This easy and rustic dish is very satisfying. It works beautifully on its own, or as a pairing to a series of other dishes, or perhaps a platter of roast meats. I chose some of my favorite vegetables to roast, but, you can change up the vegetables by season. Perhaps some asparagus and summer squash in the warmer months. Or leeks in the winter? The best part, you can make this ahead and serve it chilled! This is an amazing quality for a dinner where you are preparing several dishes.
Soup is one of Nico’s favorite “food categories” and has been perfect through this strange cold spell on the east coast these past few weeks. Nico made a request for some kind of pumpkin soup, so I figured we would go for a butternut squash and carrot. I like to roast the squash and carrots to shorten the soup cooking time but also to give a sweetness and smokiness to the vegetables that is generally not activated with just boiling them.
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.