What do you do with eggplant, tomato, and zucchini on a stormy summer afternoon in France? Make ratatouille of course!
A conversation began over what exactly ratatouille is, my boyfriend and travel companion thinking that it had to be layered into a delicate circle, as is done on Ratatouille the Disney movie. I assured him that this is not the case, as I remembered it as more of a stew from my time as an au pair in France, but figured it would be fun to try.
Unsurprisingly, this has been done - both Smitten Kitchen and The New York Times posted recipes, so I decided to mirror what Smitten Kitchen has done, with a few adjustments considering the limitations of kitchen that I’m currently in and ingredients we had on hand (and the fact that I despise bell pepper). Although it wasn’t quite as elegant as the movie, it turned out pretty tasty and as a bonus, was very fast to make. If I were to make it again (which is likely, as we’re here another few weeks) I would use more sauce next time and seek out skinny eggplant to have the full effect of the layering with the zucchini. Recipe serves 2-3.
- 1 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoons olive oil, divided
- 1/2 onion, chopped
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1/2 cup sun dried or regular tomato paste plus 1/4 cup water or 1 cup tomato purée
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped plus a few sprigs for serving
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 medium eggplant (skinnier the better, such as “Italian eggplant”), thinly sliced
- 1-2 medium zucchini, thinly sliced
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 ounces fresh goat cheesePreheat oven to 375 degrees F (my current oven doesn’t have a temperature gauge and it worked for us, so I imagine this temp is forgiving!)
Sauté onions and garlic in 2 tsps olive oil on medium in a baking dish until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add tomato paste and water or purée and 1 teaspoon of olive oil and cook for another 3 minutes then stir in basil and thyme.
Atop the tomato sauce, layer zucchini and eggplant concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, alternating vegetables.
Drizzle the remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil over the vegetables and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Cover the dish and bake for about 40-45 minutes, until vegetables are clearly cooked. Remove from oven.
Increase heat to 400 degrees F, top ratatouille with dollops of goat cheese, and place back in the oven for another 3-5 minutes.
Serve with a sprig of basil and grain of choice.