When we were looking for inspiration for our next new recipe night adventure, little did we know that the solution was sitting on a shelf in the living room the entire time. Our solution, you ask? Why, Disney-Pixar, of course!! (Have they ever let us down?)
We were a little intimidated by trying to recreate a recipe that is famous not only for its savoury deliciousness and its ability to bring down France’s top fictional food critic, but also for its gorgeous presentation. As we are still quite new in the world of cooking, we were not quite sure how to go about cooking this one up. Luckily for us, we found a fellow food blogger who had created a version of Ratatouille that looked very similar to that created by Remy in the Disney-Pixar hit movie! With a little time spent putting it together, and inspiration playing on the tv in the background (great to cook to by the way!), this I think is one of the most delicious recipes we have tried yet!
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves minced
1 cup tomato puree
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant (my store sells these “Italian Eggplant” that are less than half the size of regular ones; it worked perfectly)
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Few Tbsp soft goat cheese, for serving
Preheat oven to 375°F.
Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 -12 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. (We used a food processor.)
Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash 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.
Arrange the red pepper in concentric circles on top of the other 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 quinoa, couscous, or your choice of grain.