Baked Ratatouille

It’s been said, apparently, that Ratatouille is one one of the most difficult dishes in French cooking to make and one of the most dangerous.  The danger comes from the fact that you have to slice the vegetables incredibly thin and it is easy to cut one’s finger while doing so.  However, I don’t get where this dish is that hard to make.  I’ve made it on the stove.  I’ve made it in the oven.  I just don’t get it.  That being said, I have decided to share with you all the recipe that I use the most often and the one that I think tastes the best.  Also, once you get the hang of slicing the vegetables stupidly thin, it is pretty easy to make. This is a vegetarian recipe, but if you leave out the mascarpone it can be vegan as well!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups of rice cooked
  • 6 ounces of tomato paste
  • Olive Oil
  • Ground Pepper
  • Thyme
  • 3 tablespoons of mascarpone melted
  • 1 thin sliced eggplant
  • 1 thin sliced zucchini
  • 1 thin sliced yellow squash
  • (optional) 2 thin sliced bell peppers of different colours

Directions

  • Preheat your oven to 375°F
  • In a dish cover the bottom with the cooked rice
  • Make a sauce of the tomato paste and an overflowing teaspoon of olive oil (I mean a12491905_555223603628_7686883078313673667_o teaspoon too!  Use one of those long handled teaspoons and cause it to overflow a bit into the sauce You want it thin enough to spread, but not runny.)
  • Spread the sauce over the bed of rice
  • Next you layer the vegetables (If you are using a square or rectangular pan, layer
    them by rows.  If you are using a round pie dish then layer them in circles kind of on their side so they look like a rose.  This picture is what it looks like when you are done with a round pan.)
  • Cover the top generously with olive oil
  • Sprinkle the pepper and thyme to your liking
  • Pour the melted mascarpone
  • Place in the oven and bake for 65 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender

I usually make this dish in a pie dish if it is a small gathering because it has a better presentation, in my opinion.  I have made it in a cake pan for church functions and other larger IMG_3107gatherings because that is more practical.  Keep in mind that your vegetables don’t need to all be the same width.  Mine certainly aren’t!  Some of my slices turn out to be sliced so
thin you would think I was preparing fugu while others are not so thin.  Eggplant is the worst thing to slice thin!  I have problems getting the eggplant sliced thin enough.  So, slice it as thin as you can.  In most parts of France this dish is actually prepared on the stove top and I have made a form of it on the stove top before.  I prefer it in the oven though.  Sure, it’s not a traditional ratatouille, but it sure does taste good!

Advertisements