Ratatouille – Julia Child
Julia Child’s ratatouille; A simple and colorful vegetable casserole, using in season summer vegetables.
I hear or see ratatouille and immediately think rat patootie. I can’t help it. Blame Pixar and that completely adorable movie. I think I’ll make it a point to watch it again this week with my kids. It’s not their favorite but it’s definitely one of mine.
We’re coming into the home stretch of the JC100. If you’ve been following along, we’ve made everything from decadent chocolate desserts to fisherman’s stew and now a classic and very simple vegetable dish. Technically this is an eggplant based vegetable casserole, served as a side or main dish. It can be kept super simple or dressed up.
I opted to switch things up a bit, sautéing all of my vegetables in small batches. Even though I had tomatoes on hand, I decided to leave them out. You know my hatred for tomatoes. Instead, I spooned a tablespoon or so of tomato sauce into individual dishes then gently arranged my vegetables within the mini casserole dishes. This would be a perfect and slightly styled way to serve individual portions.
The original recipe calls for onions. And truthfully, I meant to add them in but it completely slipped my mind what with a 10 month old hanging onto my leg and other craziness going on. I’ll definitely add them in the future but I don’t think this was lacking at all without them. A few alterations in spices, per my normal routine… spice and heat is a must.
If you’re looking for a great seasonal recipe that is not only easy to make but a crowd pleaser, this is it. A variety of vegetables and flavors combined into one colorful dish.
Yield: Serves 4-6
1 small Italian eggplant*
1 zucchini (Italian squash)
1 summer squash
1 red bell pepper
1 clove of garlic
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes, optional
1/4 tsp basil
1/8 tsp oregano
1/4C olive oil
1 8oz can tomato sauce
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Slice eggplant, zucchini, squash and bell pepper into 1/8" rounds. Add to a large bowl with minced garlic. Sprinkle with spices and seasonings. Drizzle with 1 tbsp olive oil. Toss and allow to sit for 5-10 minutes.
Preheat a large sautée pan with 1 tbsp olive oil. When pan is warm, add 1/3 of your vegetables. Tossing and flipping until slightly browned. Repeat with remaining olive oil and vegetables.
In individual dishes (or one large oven safe dish), spoon a thin layer of tomato sauce on the bottom. Arrange vegetable slices as desired. Bake for 10-15 minutes or until tender and sauce is bubbly.
Serve warm with bread or as a side dish to a larger meal.
*Italian eggplant is about half the size of your average eggplant, and perfect for smaller portions of this dish.
Slightly adapted from: Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child
Celebrating 100 with Julia Child:
Week 1: Rolled omelette
Week 2: Chocolate mousse
Week 3: Coq au Vin
Week 4: Salade Niçoise
Week 5: Vichyssoise
Week 6: Reine de Saba
Week 7: Fillet Meunière
Week 8: Roast Chicken
Week 9: Charlotte Chantilly
Week 10: Bouillabaisse