February 02, 2010

Simple Baked Ratatouille


Good news...and bad. Last night's crustless quiche was so good that it's all gone. I'd like to blame my roommate, but it's mostly my fault.

In search of a low-fat idea for dinner tonight, I decided to try making ratatouille. As a bit of irrelevant family history, ratatouille is a dish my stepfather made nearly every winter that I was growing up and that I refused to eat nearly every winter that I was growing up. As a result, I had no idea how to make it.

Since I was already on the way to the grocery store when I chose ratatouille for tonight, I decided to wing it. I knew zucchini and yellow squash were main components, so I figured I'd just go from there. Although I forgot that eggplant is also included in a traditional ratatouille, the good news is that, when combined with tomato, Parmesan, and olive oil, nearly anything works. My version turned out wonderfully, so I thought I'd share the recipe here.

Simple Baked Ratatouille
  • 5 Zucchini, washed and sliced into thin medallions
  • 5 Yellow squash, washed and sliced into thin medallions
  • 3 medium-sized Vidalia onions, sliced thin
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-2 large cans (28 oz. apiece) crushed tomatoes (preferably roasted)
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 tsp. black pepper
1. In a large pot over medium-high heat, sauté the onions, garlic, salt, and pepper in about half of the olive oil, until translucent and soft. Add the tomatoes (I used 1 1/2 cans) and the Parmesan, and cook for about five more minutes.

2. The Parmesan will melt, but don't be alarmed. Cooking is meant to be messy. Put the whole mixture in the blender until smooth, and set it aside in a large bowl. "Sample" a few spoonfuls, just for good measure.

3. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Add the remaining olive oil to a large casserole dish, and then add your zucchini and yellow squash (in alternating layers, if you're crazy like me).

4. Slowly pour the tomato mixture over the top of the casserole, using a spatula to push it into the cracks so that it doesn't just sit on top of the zucchini and squash.

5. Bake for about an hour, or until a knife meets little resistance when poked into the vegetables. Allow the ratatouille to cool completely before serving, and enjoy!

While making this ratatouille wasn't as fun as having a magically-talented rat-chef under my toque, showing me what to do, eating it was just lovely. Sorry for the Ratatouille reference, but I just couldn't resist.

You could substitute other vegetables, such as mushrooms, potatoes, or eggplant, for either the zucchini or the yellow squash. But if you're looking for a simple baked ratatouille recipe, look no further!

1 comment:

  1. I am always hungry when I finish reading your posts. Please come to New York and cook something for me.

    You are your own magically-talented rat-chef.