No, I did not have a ‘little chef’ helping me prepare this recipe. However, I did think about the movie as I was slicing and arranging the vegetables, hoping to achieve that colorful visual that makes ratatouille such a beautiful dish.
You may notice I haven’t included eggplant on my list of ingredients which is a common ingredient in ratatouille. Baby eggplants work great in this dish, unfortunately, I rarely find baby eggplants where I live, only the larger eggplants which don’t scale well with the size of the squash and Roma tomatoes. If you’re fortunate enough to have an abundance of baby eggplants in a store near you, by all means, slice a couple of them up and add them to the mix!
This recipe works well because of the deep roasted flavors of the late summer vegetables baked in the rich, spicy tomato sauce. To keep the dish on the lighter side, omit pasta or bread.
4 Roma tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 small yellow squash
2 small zucchini squash
1 onion, diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 yellow bell pepper, diced
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
4 cups tomato puree
4 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
4 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons smoked paprika
2 tablespoons kosher salt
2 tablespoons black pepper
1) Preheat the oven for 375 degrees.
2) Slice the tomatoes, squash, and zucchini into ¼ inch rounds and stack one vegetable each on top of one another until you run out. Set the stacked vegetables aside.
3) Heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil in an oven-safe pan over medium-high heat. Sauté the onion, pepper, and garlic until they’re soft, then season them with salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes.
4) Add the tomato puree, paprika, and half of the fresh herbs and stir until the ingredients are fully incorporated.
5) Cook the sauce for 25 to 30 minutes until the flavors have deepened and you can no longer taste the metallic flavor from the canned tomatoes. Adjust seasoning as needed.
6) Remove the pan from the heat, and smooth the surface of the sauce evenly.
7) Arrange the vegetable stacks on top of the sauce in a circular pattern from the outer edge to the center of the pan, fanning the vegetable stacks slightly as you place them. Season the vegetables with salt, pepper, and the remaining fresh herbs then drizzle the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil on top.
8) Cover the pan with aluminum foil and bake the ratatouille for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake for another 25 to 30 minutes, until the vegetables are fork-tender. Serve hot.