I made ratatouille for the first time about a year ago after watching Pixar’s movie. I fell completely in love with Remy because I had recently discovered that I could cook. If I were a rat I’d definitely be hanging out with him as opposed to scavenging for food like all of the others. He is probably my favorite character in an animated movie ever. And while my inner child might kick and scream that Ariel from the Little Mermaid was cooler (only because she had red hair, like me), she must also admit that a rat that can cook is far superior to a singing mermaid that wants to live on land.
I searched for a recipe that was similar to what Remy created in the movie. Or rather, what real-life chef Thomas Keller created for the movie. His version of ratatouille was a modern version of Confit Byaldi, a twist on ratatouille that cuts the vegetables into thin slices instead of chunks.
I came across Smitten Kitchen’s rat-a-too-ee-for-you-ee and altered it a little to create my own version. I do remember that I added some mushrooms and different spices. It turned out wonderfully and I couldn’t have enjoyed it more unless Remy made it himself!
Until we got a Mandolin! When my boyfriend and I had a craving for ratatouille last week we decided that it was finally time to purchase this wonderful piece of equipment. It was so much fun to work with and the ratatouille came together in about half the time. I followed Smitten Kitchen’s recipe again, but with a few different tweaks. The vegetables that we used were:
Red Dulce Pepper
I followed Smitten Kitchen’s recipe for the tomato sauce that goes in the bottom of the pan, but added an extra clove of garlic:
½ yellow onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree
Pepper (I’m generous with pepper!)
After mixing the above into the bottom of the pan I began to layer the vegetables. I started with the zucchini, then a slice of eggplant, a slice of zephyr squash and a slice of the dulce pepper. We had initially cut a green bell pepper to add to the ratatouille, but removed it from the equation when we saw that the slices were too large in comparison to everything else. It just didn’t look pretty! And that is one thing that makes this dish so amazing. It is absolutely beautiful, simple and delicious. Really … anyone can cook this.
The vegetables were topped with a sprinkling of Herbs de Provence, Salt, Pepper and Olive Oil and then cooked in a 375 degree oven for just under an hour. We served this with chicken baked in a lemon-butter sauce and a French batard. The meal was light and delicious!
I think Remy would be proud.