I don’t know about you but we have a lot of produce in our house. The CSA keeps sending us sungolds by the truckload, zucchini is popping out from every corner, peppers have no shortage and there’s basil aplenty.
As I looked at all this wonderful produce and contemplated what to create from it, my mind strayed to rats.
Well, really one rat in particular. A little rat named Remy who loved to cook. I know that movie is *technically* a kids’ movie but it totally got to me – it’s just so.darn.cute.
Annnnyway, ratatouille seemed the perfect choice, and heck- if an animated rat can do it, surely I could come up with something.
So, here you go – my version of a dish somehow made more popular by a rodent cooking it.
- 1 eggplant
- 2 bell peppers
- 2 smallish zucchinis
- 1 pint of sungolds (or other cherry tomato)
- 1 onion
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- a fistful of basil (or 1/2 cup if you want to get technical), roughly chopped
- olive oil
1. Slice and dice your veggies.
I did rounds for the eggplant….
and strips for the zucchini.
Remove the seeds from the peppers…
and cut into strips.
2. Heat a shallow pan to slightly hotter than medium heat, and add a bit of olive oil to coat pan, followed by peppers and onions. Cook for ~7-8 minutes, stirring frequently. Add in minced garlic, reduce heat to medium low and partially cover. Let cook while you tend to the next step.
3. In a separate pan heated to medium heat & coated in olive oil, add a layer of zucchini strips. Cook just until they become pliant (~1-2 minutes) and remove from pan. This can be done in several batches if needed.
4. After zucchini, add in the eggplant rounds, cooking one layer at a time to slightly soften, about 1-2 minutes. Remove from pan and pour in the sungolds, cooking for ~2 minutes then remove from heat.
5. Now – we build. Lightly oil a pie plate then start layering:
Followed by peppers and onions
and tomatoes and basil (save a few to throw on the very top!)
Next, comes the fun part. Arrange all those flexible little zucchini strips into whatever artistic arrangement floats your boat (pinwheel, lattice, ‘abstract’- aka just dump them on).
Then realize just how beautiful food is and get distracted into snapping way WAY too many pictures of it.
Warning: you’re about to see many pictures of basically the same thing. But hey, it’s my party and I’ll
cry photo-dump share several lovely perspectives of a still life if I want to.
Hi, my name is Heather, and I am addicted to photographing food.
6. Preheat oven to 375 then place your lovely ratatouille in the oven and cook for ~45 minutes to an hour, until the zucchini start to get just slightly crispy on top and the sungolds have blistered, releasing some of their juices.
I actually planned to have this the next day, so I cooked it for 45 minutes, removed and let cool to room temperature and refrigerated overnight. For dinner the next day, I popped it in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
7. Plate up: serve a heaping scoop on a hunk of warm, fresh bread from your favorite local bakery.
Results & Conclusions
The flavors from each vegetable in this dish meld together to form a wonderfully fresh yet comforting taste.
This meal is the perfect summer meal to enjoy outside in the evening breeze.