Newhousefood’s Blog

Ratatouille – Dinner and a Movie

Posted on: December 2, 2008

My roommates and I love any excuse to hang out and enjoy food, so before finals get into full swing, we are planning a dinner and movie night inspired by Ratatouille, the 2007 Disney/Pixar film.  It’s the perfect movie for food lovers, and in my opinion, Pixar always produces top notch entertainment.  If you haven’t seen it yet, the movie is about a rat named Remy who has dreams of becoming a chef.  He ends up in Paris at the restaurant of his late cooking idol, Gusteau, where things have been looking grim since the top chef passed away.  With the help of his human friend Linguini, Remy is able to create culinary masterpieces and help Gusteau’s reclaim its former glory.

Here’s a clip from Remy’s first encounter with Gusteau’s restaurant.

Check out a recipe for the ratatouille dish Remy makes (the recipe I’ll be using to cook this weekend) after the jump.

Ratatouille’s Ratatouille
As envisioned by Smitten Kitchen

1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree (such as Pomi)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme
Salt and pepper
Few tablespoons soft goat cheese, for serving

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Pour tomato puree into bottom of an oval baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced garlic cloves and chopped onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.

Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. As carefully as you can, trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.

On a mandoline, adjustable-blade slicer or with a very sharp knife, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick.

Atop the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping so just a smidgen of each flat surface is visible, alternating vegetables. You may have a handful leftover that do not fit.

Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs with your fingertips, running them down the stem. Sprinkle the fresh thyme over the dish.

Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside. (Tricky, I know, but the hardest thing about this.)

Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.

Serve with a dab of soft goat cheese on top, alone, or with some crusty French bread, atop polenta, couscous, or your choice of grain.

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