I think most of us would have seen the movie Ratatouille! It became iconic for it’s tagline- “Anyone can cook”. Completely inspired by Remy the rat’s version of France’s famous dish, I came up with this. It is a celebration of seasonal, fresh vegetables and it really reflects in the taste. The flavours are simple, the technique is simple but the taste is sophisticated. I just love it when simple things give us so much pleasure! 🙂
I had gone on a vacation to Ooty, a hill station which produces incredibly fresh veges. On the way back to Bangalore, I saw these super fresh vegetables being sold and I couldn’t resist buying them.
After the purchase, I wanted to do justice to this fresh produce by making a healthy recipe where the flavour of vegetables was not ruined by tons of spice. And viola! The ratatouille.
Ingredients: (Serves 4-5)
- Yellow squash/ zucchini- ½ of a long squash (Use 1 full if the squash is small)
- Green zucchini- ½ (If small, you can use 1 full zucchini)
- Red bell pepper- ½
- Yellow bell pepper- ½
- Small eggplant- 1
- Tomato puree- 1 cup
- Small onion- 1; finely chopped
- Garlic- 2 to 3 cloves; finely chopped
- Rosemary/ Thyme- 1 medium sprig/ branch
- Olive oil- 2-3 tablespoons
- Salt and pepper- to taste
Preheat oven to 180°C/ 350 F.
Trim off the ends of the green zucchini, squash and eggplant. Thinly slice it with a sharp knife or a mandolin slicer into rounds of the same thickness (about 1/8 an inch). Cut the top off the bell peppers and scoop out the seeds. Thinly slice the bell peppers as well.
Season the tomato puree generously with salt and pepper. Spread the puree evenly on the base of a 22 cm baking tin and drizzle a little olive oil over it. Scatter the finely chopped onion and garlic. Place the slices of vegetables alternating the colours to form an outer ring. Repeat the process for an inner ring as well.
Sprinkle salt and pepper generously over the vegetables. Drizzle olive oil over it making sure it gets evenly distributed.
Tear apart the leaves of the rosemary/ thyme from the sprig and sprinkle it over the assorted veges. Cut a parchment paper to fit the size of the baking tin and cover the top of the tin with it. This technique is called Cartouche which helps the vegetables to steam and also to retain all the moisture.
Bake in the oven for 20- 25 minutes or until the vegetables start leaving the water and are cooked but not mushy. A good way to check, is to take a toothpick and insert it into the vegetable. If it goes through easily without any resistance, it is cooked (It takes about 22 minutes in my oven but the baking time may vary from place to place, oven to oven and also depends on the thickness of the vegetables).
Note– Before serving, mix it gently and check for seasoning. Sometimes, there are chances of it having less salt & pepper. In that case, add more and adjust it to suite your preference.
Serve it as it is or you can also serve it along with couscous, buttered/ ghee rice or a pilaf. 🙂