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Saturday, October 6, 2012

Ratatouille

This is my recipe for ratatouille... THAT ratatouille. The layered version used in the famous cartoon-movie-thing. This is a very healthy vegetarian dish that can be served with rice, couscous, or even by itself.

1/2 shallot, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree or sauce (such as Pomi)
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
3 Red Potatoes
1 Zucchini
1 Yellow Squash or Butternut Squash
2 Red Bell Pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Few tablespoons soft goat cheese or 
mozzarella

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

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

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

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

4: 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.

5: 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.

6: 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.

7: 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.

This is a delicious, and surprisingly healthy dish for anyone on a diet, vegetarian, or just looking for a fresh new item to make in the kitchen. I serve this over couscous with some sliced andouille sausage and use shredded mozzarella cheese to top it. This is a very easy dish to modify and change to your own personal liking. Use thick-sliced pepperoni instead of the zucchini, or change the olive oil for bacon grease, it's completely up to you how you want to customize this dish. So feel free to take this, change it, share it, make it your own, and let me know how it turns out.

~Bon App├ętit~

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