Another Ratatouille

Squash, squash, more squash… along with the eggplant you have no clue what to do with, as well as the pile of tomatoes and peppers on your counter….  Ratatouille is the answer!  According to Wikipedia (the authority on everything), a ratatouille is basically a cooked up mix of veggies.  

Ratatouille (/ˌrætəˈtuːiː/ rat-ə-TOO-ee; French: [ʁatatuj]) is a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish, originating in Nice. Though referred to commonly as ratatouille niçoise,[1] ratatouille is popular among the entire Mediterranean coast as an easy summer dish.[2] It is typically prepared as a stew, with each vegetable being sautéed to enhance their flavors before being layered into a baking dish and baked for several minutes to complete the cooking process.

Basically, that means we mix up a bunch of veggies and stew them or bake them.  Last week, I posted my own recipe for a southern style ratatouille that even included okra!  This week, I’m including a baked recipe from Smitten Kitchen, that one of our sweet CSA members sent to me, that looks beautiful and is super easy because you just layer it in a baking dish.  My philosophy on recipes (and restaurant menus) is that a recipe is really just a suggestion.  If you have other veggies or herbs you want to toss in there, go right ahead!  Maybe you can give this an Italian spin by layering the bottom with marinara sauce instead of just tomato sauce!  I love the Cannizzaro sauces that I buy at Atherton market, and plan on trying it using one of their sauces this week.  Want to toss some cheese on top before you bake, or even a dollop of some yummy herbed cheese or sour cream when it is done?  Yes!  Do it!   Have no fear.  Ratatouille is truly forgiving and there really is no right or wrong.  

Give it a try and eat your veggies!

Robin

Ratatouille’s Ratatouille
As envisioned by Smitten Kitchen

1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree (such as Pomi)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant 

1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Few tablespoons soft goat cheese, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper. 

Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube. 

On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.

Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit. 

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs with your fingertips, running them down the stem. Sprinkle the fresh thyme over the dish.

Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside. (Tricky, I know, but the hardest thing about this.) 

Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.

Serve with a dab of soft goat cheese on top, alone, or with some crusty French bread, atop polenta, couscous, or your choice of grain. 

Ratatouille’s Ratatouille
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Ingredients
  1. 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  2. 2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
  3. 1 cup tomato puree (such as Pomi)
  4. 2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  5. 1 small eggplant
  6. 1 smallish zucchini
  7. 1 smallish yellow squash
  8. 1 longish red bell pepper
  9. Few sprigs fresh thyme
  10. Salt and pepper
  11. Few tablespoons soft goat cheese, for serving
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.
  3. Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.
  4. On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.
  5. Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.
  6. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs with your fingertips, running them down the stem. Sprinkle the fresh thyme over the dish.
  7. Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside. (Tricky, I know, but the hardest thing about this.)
  8. Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.
  9. Serve with a dab of soft goat cheese on top, alone, or with some crusty French bread, atop polenta, couscous, or your choice of grain.
Adapted from As envisioned by Smitten Kitchen
Adapted from As envisioned by Smitten Kitchen
Bell's Best Berries http://bellsbestberries.com/
Baked Ratatouille

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