Some Sort of Phenomenal Rat

Anyone who has known me for longer than an hour or so knows that I am quite fond of the film “Ratatouille.” In fact, “Ratatouille” is hands-down my second favorite in the world (after “School of Rock” and I doubt that any movie will ever surpass it. In the words of the illustrious Billy Eichner, Ratatouille is simply “enchanting” and I make a point of watching it every few weeks.

I also make a point of cooking ratatouille every once in a while. It is a great way to get your veggies, which is something that, as a chicken strip connoisseur, challenges me. There are a couple different ways to make ratatouille – I usually make it the traditional French way in a sautee pan (you can see this version of ratatouille in the movie when Ego has a flashback to his youth), but today I experimented with baked ratatouille (this is the “gourmet” version that Remy cooks for Ego in the restaurant).

I found a recipe for baked ratatouille on Smitten Kitchen, a quite lovely food blog. However, I did tweak the recipe a bit to make it my own (aka I don’t like squash or following directions).

Making ratatouille is quite easy:

1. Put tomato puree, minced garlic, olive oil, and salt and pepper in the bottom of a baking dish.

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2. Lay slices of zucchini, eggplant, and bell pepper in a beautiful design on top of the tomatoes. Put thyme, salt, pepper, and olive oil between each layer.

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3. Keep piling on the veggies until the baking dish is full. Put a piece of parchment paper on top and stick it in a 375 degree oven for 50 minutes. I haven’t the foggiest why you put a piece of parchment on top, but I will never question a gourmet rat chef. I also got fancy with the spices (true “Ratatouille” fans will get that reference), and used rosemary, sage, and balsamic drizzle in addition to the recommended thyme on top.

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I often get too excited to eat a dish to properly photograph it, so alas I don’t have a photo of the finished product. However, it was very much enjoyed as part of a lovely dinner party. Gusteau would be proud.

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