Okay, so Ratatouille is a glorified Briami. What is Briami? It is the Greek version of Ratatouille. Now in saying that, I don’t like to describe a meal as a dish from another culture but I grew up eating Briami and never heard of Ratatouille. I only discovered what Ratatouille was (and yes this is embarrassing) after watching the animated movie Ratatouille and I instantly fell in love. I have watched the movie over and over (at least 6 times) and after each time I cook it myself. The movie itself makes you fall in love with cooking and the joy cooking brings me.
Making Ratatouille is a patient process that forces you to enjoy every ingredient and the care that is needed to cut and assemble it. I mean look at the photos! It is full of colour, life and deliciousness. What a way to celebrate vegetables!
On the bottom of my Ratatouille is a thick layer of herbed tomato sauce and then layers of vegetables including eggplant, tomato, potato, zucchini and carrots. These are not necessarily the traditional vegetables that are used in the movie but they are my favourite combination. I would recommend adding sweet potato to the mix but I have an intolerance to them so I left it out.
Now slicing the vegetables as evenly as you can is important to making a good-looking Ratatouille. You don’t have to be very specific about it but it does make it look pretty and it ensures everything is cooked evenly. I personally used a mandoline slicer (except the eggplant and tomato which I sliced with a knife). The other important thing to do is bake it covered with baking paper so the vegetables do not look dry and charred. It makes a huge difference. Do not however cover with foil as it will not allow the steam to evaporate and you will end up with a soggy Ratatouille.
And finally, this can be served as a main meal or as a side dish to rice, pasta, quinoa, steak or grilled fish and chicken. It goes with everything and is a delight to all senses. Enjoy x
Before you go shopping, try to buy vegetables that are a similar thickness in diameter. This way they can be stacked evenly. You will need a round baking dish approx. 25cm in diameter.
350g tomato passata combined with 1 tbs dried herbs
(basil, oregano, thyme, ground or fresh garlic)
6 small potatoes (about 400g)
2 large carrots
2 large zucchini
2 japanese eggplants
3 tbs EV olive oil
fresh basil leaves
fresh thyme twigs
Slice all the vegetables in the following order: carrots, zucchini, tomatoes, eggplant and potatoes. Reason for this is that the potatoes and eggplant can go brown faster than the other vegetables.
Preheat the oven to 190C fan forced.
Spread the baking dish with a layer of the tomato sauce. Season with some sea salt and pepper.
Start layering the vegetables on top of the sauce. Pick a slice of each vegetable, first the eggplant, tomato, potato, zucchini and then carrot and make a small stack in hand and then stack in the dish. This saves time rather than arranging one slice at a time.
Arrange in a spiral pattern or in two circles.
Drizzle over the vegetables the EVOO, sea salt, pepper and a handful of thyme leaves.
Cover the dish with a piece of baking paper cut to sit on the inside of the baking dish.
Bake for 50 minutes – 1 hour. Let it cool for 5 minutes before serving.
Sprinkle fresh basil leaves over the top and serve with crusty bread, rice, or any side dish of you choice. Enjoy x
Optional: For a cheesy taste, sprinkle some grated parmesan cheese (or nutritional yeast for a vegan alternative)