Since I returned from Blend, I have been on a bit of a health kick. My muscles are steadily healing, I have been munching on swag health goodies every day, and I have been actively searching for healthy recipes (though I will admit some of those not-so-healthy recipes have made their way into my collection this week. Example – chocolate chip cookie dough cupcakes. My jaw dropped when I saw that. This recipe is quickly making its way to the top of the pile the more I think about…. Which is all the time… damn you sweet tooth, damn you).
Back to being healthy…
Every since I saw the movie Ratatouille, I wanted to make Ratatouille. Perfect for a healthy dish, because really, what’s healthier than a dish full of veggies? The only downside when I made the dish was that I didn’t have the foresight to play Ratatouille in the background as I cooked. Seriously, what is wrong with me? This should have been the first thing I did!
The dish was unbelievably easy to make and it filled the entire house with an intoxicatingly delicious scent. Even the solicitor who stopped by that night to ask me to donate to PBS commented on the yummy smell drifting out the living room window.
Yes, this compliment was enough to make me scrape together some cash. Not to mention PBS has those great shows like Arthur and Wishbone. (Is Wishbone even on anymore? Or did I just give away how old I am….?)
My hubby/husband/love of my life, Ben, who doesn’t even like eggplant actually enjoyed the dish and demanded a second serving! If that’s not success, I don’t know what is.
Ratatouille’s Ratatouille (Modified from Smitten Kitchen)
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant (if you can’t get a small eggplant, this is ok. I’ll explain below how to make it not look like a disaster)
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
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 (I used a porcelain tart pan), 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, and yellow squash 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. Sprinkle ground thyme over the dish.
Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside.
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.
Somehow I managed to keep all my fingertips while slicing vegetables with the mandoline. If you are anything like me, get one of those metal gloves that prevent you from cutting yourself. They rock.
You may notice that only the zucchini and squash are shown in the picture above. This is because the only eggplant I could find was huge and didn’t layer nicely so I hid it. If you also cannot locate a small eggplant, layer your slices of eggplant on the sauce as evenly as possible. Then top with the pretty layered squash and zucchini. 🙂