Thursday, January 2, 2014

Ratatouille



Ratatouille. A recipe that I have been desiring to endeavor ever since I saw the movie, is now checked off of my cooking to do list. I can honestly say that I have never tasted anything like it before, an intense spicy flavor combined with garlicky tomato sauce and fresh vegetables is only a brief rather vague description. Anton Ego really doesn't kid around with his French cuisine.

Eggplant, such a curious name for a purple vegetable, if it is in fact a vegetable. I would say it would be wise to taste an ingredient before thrusting it into a recipe, but what do I know? I certainly don't always follow my own suggestions. However, now that I have tried it, I do like it. It's a bit like cucumber filled with fresh flavor, but lacking the firm texture.

I didn't have large oval baking dish (as the recipe calls for), but I used two casserole dishes and a pie plate instead. I also didn't want to murder innocent tomatoes (it's so depressing watching them get ground up in a food processor), so I simply used 2 cans of tomato paste instead.


Start by mincing the onion and garlic, and chopping the eggplant, zucchini, pepper, and squash into thin slices, about 1/16 of an inch.


Mix tomato paste (or puree) with onions, garlic, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, oregano, pepper flakes and season generously with salt and pepper. Spread in a thin layer over your pan(s).


Begin layering the vegetables, alternating between each kind. Since I am not an experienced pepper-chopper, (and more of my family are not fond of peppers) I cut them into chunks and placed them atop the tomato sauce, beneath the layered vegetables.


It should look something like this.


Drizzle with olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme.


Cover with a sheet of parchment paper, and bake in a 375 degree oven for 45-55 minutes. Enjoy!


Ratatouille:

Yield: 6-8 servings

Oven: 375 degrees F

Time: 1.5 hours

Ingredients: 

1/2 onions, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced

1 cup tomato puree (or 2 cans tomato paste)

1/4 teaspoon oregano 

1/4 teaspoon pepper flakes

2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 eggplant

1 zucchini 

1 yellow squash

1 long red bell pepper

Few sprigs fresh thyme

salt and pepper

Directions:

Mix tomato paste (or puree) with onions, garlic, oregano, pepper flakes, 1 tablespoon of olive oil, and a generous amount of salt and pepper. Spread in the bottom of a large oval baking dish, approximately 10" across, or in a few glass casserole dishes.

Cut of the ends of the zucchini, squash, and eggplant, and remove the core from the pepper. Slice thinly, about 1/16" thick. 

Layer them over the tomato paste mixture, drizzle with remaining olive oil, and sprinkle with salt, pepper, and thyme. Cover with a sheet of parchement paper, and bake for 45-55 minutes until vegetables are fully cooked, and tomato sauce is bubbly. 

Serve immediately with fresh french bread. 

Note: I got this recipe from: "http://www.thecomfortofcooking.com/2010/08/layered-ratatouille.html"









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