Ratatouille

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Alright, so, before you jump up my butt about this, cuz I know there’s some out there that really really really love to Google Ratatouille and then tell the bloggers “That’s not a ratatouille.” Ya, I know it’s a Tian. However, if I called this a Tian people would say, “WTF is a Tian and why does it look like ratatouille?” So to skip all that nonsense and confusion I’m just calling this a ratatouille. K? Good. Let’s move forward.

What’s a ratatouille and why so many people know about it? It is a regional dish originating in Nice, France. The flavor of the dish comes from fresh veggies and herbs that are slow cooked to both meld together and allow for some caramelization of natural sugars. The result is a fragrant dish that is mildly sweet, earthy, with a hint of tart from the tomatoes.

So, ya, I went a bit overboard with the alternating coils of veggies. I nearly went blind doing it. It looks pretty and it’s eye catching. Do you need to make it like this? Naw. You can just pour the sauce on the bottom of a 9×13″ dish and then dump the veggies on top and call it a day. The only benefit of alternating veggies (squash, eggplant, zucchini, roma) is to meld the flavors together whilst baking. A pile of eggplant next to a pile of zucchini is going to taste just like that. The goal of this dish is to bring all of the fresh ingredients together into one homogeneous flavor.

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Do you need to use fresh herbs? I mean. You can used dried ones, but fresh herbs have stronger flavors and aromatics. The dried herbs in your cupboard could be ages old, and they lose potency faster than we like to admit. If you’re going to go through the trouble of slicing all these veggies and artfully arranging them you might as well spring for the fresh parsley, thyme, and basil. If you’re making a true ratatouille, which means you rough chop all the veggies and cook it as a stew, then fresh herbs aren’t as important.

Baked with the fresh basil and olive oil topping.
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Ratatouille

Summer squash, eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, and fresh herbs. What's not to love?!? It's a lot of comforting flavors and there are a lot of ways to build it! I know I know I know. It's technically a Tian because a ratatouille is more of a stew and a Tian is the more plated version. But, ever since that rat because a secret chef we've been calling it a ratatouille.
Course Main Course
Cuisine French
Keyword glutenfree, vegan
Prep Time – 30 mins
Cook Time – 1 hr
Servings – 8 People
Calories Per Serving –192

Equipment

  • 9×13" baking dish or large saute pan

Ingredients

  • 2 skinny eggplants (2-3" diameter )
  • 2 small yellow squash
  • 2 small zucchini
  • 6 roma tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion (diced)
  • 4 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 red bell pepper (diced)
  • 28 ounces crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

Topping Ingredients

  • 4 Tbl olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil (minced)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh parsley (minced)
  • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme (minced)
  • 1 clove garlic (minced)

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 F.
  • Slice eggplants, zucchini, squash, and roma tomatoes very thin: approximately 1/16″. Set aside.
  • Heat olive oil in an oven safe pan and saute red pepper, onion, and garlic for 2 minutes. The onion should be translucent but not browned. Add salt, crushed tomatoes, and basil. Bring to a simmer and cook uncovered for 5-10 minutes. Remove pan from heat.
  • This is where you can get creative! You don’t have to layer the sliced vegetables in any particular pattern. You can toss them all in the pan and bake it that way, but it’s more fun to make that pretty layer.
  • Mix together the topping ingredients and spoon over your vegetables. Cover the dish with aluminum foil and bake for 40 minutes. Remove from heat and bake an additional 20 minutes. Serve and enjoy!

Notes

This is also a delicious meal the next day. Heat oven to 350 F and bake the covered dish for 15 minutes or until warm.
Many grocery stores only carry the very bulbous eggplants. You can still use this kind, but slice the pieces in half so that it when you arrange your dish you’re only using a hemisphere instead of the full round.
Slicing the vegetables is much faster if you have access to a mandolin slicer; however, you don’t need to make the pieces completely uniform. This is a rustic dish and is just as delicious if you simply cut the vegetables into cubes. But, it’s so fun to make the patterns!
Don’t have an oven safe saute pan or large enough skillet? Transfer your cooked sauce to a 9×13″ casserole dish and arrange in that dish instead.
This is an excellent dish on its own; however, if you’re looking to make it a more robust meal you can use it as a pasta topping, side dish for a lean protein, or serve with polenta.
Don’t have fresh thyme, parsley, or basil? The common substitute for fresh to dried is      1 Tablespoon of fresh is equivalent to 1 teaspoon of dried.

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