Now, I have to ask, when someone says “Ratatouille” what do you think of? The Disney/Pixar movie? Well…yeah. Good movie, but that’s another blog. When I say Ratatouille, I’m talking about the traditional French dish. A dish so flavorful and so stuffed with vegetables that even the most hardcore nutritionist and/or vegetarian would be happy. While it is true that this dish takes a bit of fussing over, your patience will be rewarded because Ratatouille is both good and good for you. So come on in, give it a try and expand your culinary horizons!
- 2 Oz. and 1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- 2 Tablespoons Garlic, Minced
- 4 Oz. Onion, Diced
- 4 Oz. Bell Peppers, Diced (color is up to you)
- 4 Oz. (or 1/2 Cup) Tomato Puree
- 8 Oz. Tomato Concasse (tomatoes that have been peeled and diced)
- 8 Oz. Yellow Squash, Diced
- 8 Oz. Zucchini, Diced
- 8 Oz. Eggplant, Diced
- Salt and Pepper to taste
- Basil Chiffonade to finish (Basil leaves that have been cut into thin ribbons)
- Saute Pan
- Large Stock Pot or Soup Pot
- Silicone Spatula
- Wooden Spoon
- Chef’s Knife
- Talking cartoon rat that can help you cook (optional)
A quick note before I launch into the cooking procedure. In this dish, more than any other, order matters. What do I mean? Well, if you just threw every veggie in there and started to cook and cook and cook, you’d have some that are underdone and some that are overdone. Bad news if you ask me. So, to avoid a culinary catastrophe, add the veggies that take the longest to cook, first. Then, add the rest in increments until they’re all done, seasoning each layer as you go, stirring every once in a while. Trust me, you DO NOT want to skip this step. You don’t want to make the rat sad, do you?
- In the large pot of your choosing, add the 2 Oz. of olive oil and sweat the onions and garlic on medium heat until the garlic is golden. Don’t let the garlic burn or else it will get bitter and ruin the rest of the dish.
- Veggies that take the longest to cook, go in first. So, add the Bell Peppers into the pot and season with salt. Cook until they’re nice and soft.
- Meanwhile, in the saute pan, add the remaining oil and saute the Eggplant on medium-high heat until they’re well browned on all sides. Don’t skip this step either. This will actually mellow out the bitterness of the Eggplant. Once they’re browned, kill the heat and set them aside for now.
- Once the Bell Peppers are tender, add the Zucchini and the Squash. Season with salt.
- Add the Tomato Puree to the pot and continue cooking until both the Zucchini and the Squash are tender.
- When they become tender, add the Eggplant. Season.
- Cook and stir to incorporate everything, and then add the last of the veggies; the Tomatoes. Season.
- Cook everything for another 4 to 5 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- Kill the heat, finish with a few grinds of Black Pepper and the Basil. Serve while warm.
There you have it! Your very own slice of France, and you didn’t even need a tiny talking rat to help you out. Ratatouille is a little fussy, but let’s be honest; what good dish ISN’T a little bit fussy? Besides, because you were in the driver’s seat, you know that it’s going to be great! I hope you enjoy this one!