Ratatouille(pronounced RAT-EH-TOO-EY and literally meaning "Chunky stew to stir") is a Classic French-Provençal dish with earthy flavors of abundantly fresh veggies.Dated back to 18th century France,the dish was poor farmer's nutrient rich meal.
I was introduced to this vintage recipe from the Disney-Pixar's Comedy "Ratatouille".The vibrant recipe at smitten kitchen inspired by the Movie itself was very impressive ,then I was thinking an easier method like the chop and toss method used in the Ratatouille pasta.
A really good ratatouille is not one of the quicker dishes to make,as each element is cooked separately before it is arranged in the casserole to partake of a brief communal simmer.This recipe is the only one we know of which produces a ratatouille in which each vegetable retains its own shape and character.~ Julia Child
More recently while browsing through Master Chef Julia Child's Classics found really good ratatouille recipe that undoubtedly seemed the best to bring out the flavors for an ultimate,delicate and crisp ratatouille.
The recipe here is adapted from both the tried and tasted recipes.One can layer vegetables,alternating or just top one layer of vegetable over the other.More importantly use fresh ingredients and avoid any canned vegetables for a flavorsome ratatouille.
2 medium Italian or Japanese eggplants or 4 medium Indian eggplants,thinly sliced(with Skin on))
2 yellow squash,thinly sliced
2 Zucchini,thinly sliced
1 small red ,green or yellow Bell pepper,seeded and sliced
2 cloves Garlic,chopped
2 medium Vine Ripe tomatoes,sliced
4 medium ripe red tomatoes,steamed,peeled,seeded and juiced
Few springs fresh herbs,basil or flat leaf parsley,chopped
1 teaspoon black pepper,freshly ground
2 tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
In large mixing bowl,toss all the sliced vegetables(eggplant,zucchini and squash) with a teaspoon of salt ,let sit for 15-20 minutes.
In a large pan heat the oil on medium-high heat.Saute the salted vegetables in a single layer ,about a minute on each side until slightly brown.Keep aside.
In the same pan,add the onions and saute onions about 3-4 minutes ,add the garlic and saute another minute before adding the peppers.Cook another 3-4 minutes on medium heat.
Add the tomato pulp ,cover and cook until juice has mostly evaporated.Season with salt and pepper.
In a baking dish or casserole spread 1/3th of the prepared tomato sauce,arrange the sliced of sauteed vegetable and the extra tomato slices in a single or double layer with sauce in between.Sprinkle the herbs and top any remaining tomato sauce.
Cover and simmer on stove top on medium-low heat for 20-25 minutes or bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes until cooked through.Slightly cool.To serve,spread a little sauce leftover in the dish on to the serving plate,place the cooked vegetables and garnish with fresh herbs ,enjoy along side a crusty bread or a bowl of brown rice.Tastes better the next day,gently reheat before serving.
Shot in the setting sun,the click was a pleasant surprise for me.Nabeel was particularly amused by its name for it reminded him of the amuses of the Rat Chef Remy. Mr.HealthNut on the other hand was delighted over the simplicity and flavors in the dish using the plain old baigan and tamatar.
This is now off to two wonderful events paired together - Click and Meeta's Monthly mingle : Heirloom.