- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1/2 onion, diced
- 2 Tbsps olive oil, plus 1 Tbsp for topping
- 1.5 cups passata
- 1/2 cup basil, chopped
- 1 small to medium green zucchini, sliced thin
- 1 small to medium yellow zucchini, sliced thin
- 1 small to medium eggplant, sliced thin
- 3 medium tomatoes, sliced thin
- 1 tsp salt
- Fresh ground pepper, to taste
- 1-2 Tbsps pesto
- 1/4 cup Garlic and Herb Boursin cheese, crumbled for topping
DirectionsPreheat oven to 375ºF. Mince the garlic and dice the onion. Heat a cast iron pan over medium high heat, adding the olive oil. Add the garlic and onion and sauté until the onion has softened and the garlic is fragrant. Add the passata and stir until the mixed consistently and the passata is heated through. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the basil overtop, reserving 1 Tbsp of basil for topping at the end. Arrange the vegetables on the sauce, alternating between the different vegetables (photo above was eggplant, tomato, yellow zucchini, green zucchini). Drizzle with pesto. Cover the pan wither either an oven-ready lid, or with tin foil. Place in the oven and bake for 40 minutes, then remove foil and bake for another 10-20 minutes, until vegetables have reached desired level of doneness. Remove from the oven, top with olive oil, cheese and basil, then serve.
And now for the details…
I am a bit of a Disney freak. I. Love. Disney. Cannot help myself. We have no kids, and yet I have seen pretty much every Disney cartoon or animated movie ever released. And am emotionally affected by said movies. (Up! Who wrote this screenplay? I am a sobbing mess every time I watch it… within 10 minutes)
And Ratatouille? Well. It was a Disney movie and about a rat who is obsessed with cooking perfectly blended ingredients. I could picture the harmony Remy refers to as he contemplates the flavour combinations that not only match, but bring the dish to life.
And after having watched that movie and having loved it… over a decade ago… I still had not made ratatouille. It was time.
Let’s get to cooking.
We will be cooking everything in a cast iron pan, which will allow an easy transition from stove to oven. If you do not have a cast iron pan, use an oven ready pan, which will work just as well. Not sure if your pan is oven ready? Typically it would have said so on the label, and may even note it on the bottom of the pan. But most pans that have no plastic or rubber pieces and are revited, rather than welded, should be able to withstand the heat of shifting into the oven.
Let’s start with the onions and garlic, which we will sauté in the olive oil until the onions have softened and the garlic is fragrant. Try to avoid cooking too long and caramelizing the onions or garlic.
While you are waiting for the onions and garlic to cook, slice the rest of the veggies into thin slices, consistent in size, and set them to the side.
Add the tomato passata to the pan, and stir until the garlic and onion have been thoroughly mixed in and the passata has heated until just bubbling. Add salt and pepper to the sauce to your taste. Remove from the heat and sprinkle the tomato sauce with the basil, reserving 1 Tbsp of the basil to the side for garnishing the ratatouille when it is done.
Next, we are going to add our veggies directly on top of the tomato sauce in our pan, keeping with a consistent pattern to increase both the visual appeal of the dish, but also allow us a nice bite of all four veggies in one once the dish is cooked and ready. I chose to go with the closest to ROYGBIV as I could with my colour distribution, going with tomato (R), zucchini (Y), zucchini (G), and eggplant (V), and I could see expanding this out to include the rest of the spectrum with, say, orange bell peppers (O), or even stretching this recipe with purple potatoes (I), but I stuck with some of the tried and true veggies in this recipe.
Next is our baking process. Before moving on, I drizzled some pesto over the ratatouille to emphasize the basil flavour. Cover the pan with tin foil or an oven ready lid, and place it in the oven for around 40 minutes. Depending on how thickly or thinly you have stacked your vegetables, you may need to monitor the cooking process at the 30 minute mark to check for doneness. The vegetables should be mostly done, but not completely done yet (the eggplant will have a bit of bounce left to it). At this point, remove the lid or tin foil and allow the ratatouille to cook for another 10-20 minutes, until the vegetables have caramelized slightly, and are completely done. Remove the pan from the oven, drizzle with the remaining olive oil, crumble with some of the Boursin on top, and sprinkle the reserved basil overtop, then serve! From our experience, it goes great with barbecued salmon or chimichurri flank steak tacos (you better believe those recipes are coming!), but this dish is so delicious, it could make up a meal of its own with some crusty bread, or pair with a whole selection of dishes!