Ratatouille is one of my all time favorite dishes. And not just because of the movie…. which is totally adorable and I absolutely love…. but anyways, it’s just so freakin’ delicious!
Some of you may be thinking, what is ratatouille? Don’t worry, I was there once. Ratatouille is a classic french dish featuring the careful layering of thinly sliced eggplant, zucchini, and a tomato bell pepper sauce into a dish, then baking it in the oven until they’re tender and bubbly. A Clean Bake has a beautiful recipe of the classic version, if you want to check that out.
I was first introduced to ratatouille by, who else but, my mom. She makes the most delicious ratatouille and somehow manages to make it look SO easy— special thanks to her handy food processor that slices everything perfectly for her. But I have a minor problem when it comes time to make my own ratatouille at home.
My food processor, well, died. I don’t like to talk about it— it was a sad, sad day.
So as much as I love thinly slicing and layering tons and tons of vegetables, my knife skills as just not that good at making them so thin and small and perfect. And frankly I don’t have the patience. So instead, I decided to make my own little spin on the classic ratatouille and turn it into a rustic casserole. You definitely still have to slice your veggies, but it’s more of a “rustic slice” (aka all my slicing ;))— not quite as thin and perfect, since they’re all just going into a big dish of delicious tomatoey goodness!
Let’s go step-by-step, shall we?
First, you’ll slice your eggplant into 1/4” strips and bake them for 10 minutes— just to get them tender before going into the casserole (no one likes a tough eggplant).
Then, spread 1/2 cup of sauce over the bottom of your baking dish. Top that with a layer of baked eggplant.
Top your eggplant with a layer of sliced zucchini, trying to cover most of the dish as much as possible.
Spread your white bean puree over the zucchini with a spatula. Again, try to cover all of the zucchini so every bite is creamy and delicious!
Then you’ll repeat: a layer of eggplant, then a layer of zucchini.
Top that final layer of zucchini with one cup of red sauce and finally, a layer of sliced tomatoes.
Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the zucchini is fork tender. Once the zucchini is tender and the tomatoes are juicy, pull it out of the oven and top with fresh basil! If you eat dairy, feel free to top with fresh parmesan cheese as well.
So that’s it! My simplified, rustic take on ratatouille! I love the way the tender vegetables literally melt into the tomato sauce and mix with the creamy white bean puree— it’s pure heaven! This is definitely a lighter dinner, since it’s mostly just vegetables, so you could easy bulk it up with a grain like couscous or quinoa on the side. Or also a huge baguette of french bread— because you KNOW there’s going to be some leftover tomato juices that need some mopping up 😉
What about you? Have you ever made ratatouille before? Just seen the movie? No idea what I’m babbling about? Let me know below!