Thursday, September 1, 2011


When I was pregnant with Stella, I started a bad habit.  Because I was so sick, when lunch time rolled around, I would spread a blanket out on the floor in front of the TV and Preston would eat lunch on the blanket while watching part of a movie.  It was our pretend "picnic".  Well, this tradition is still going strong even though I am not pregnant.  The only change is that now it is with Stella (Noah and Preston still join in on Saturdays).  Every day for lunch we set out a blanket and eat our lunch on the floor while watching part of a movie.  The movie that is now showing is Disney's Ratatouille and is also the current inspiration for wanting to try the recipe, Ratatouille's Ratatouille from Smitten Kitchen.

Ratatouille's Ratatouille

1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant
1 smallish zucchini
1 smallish yellow squash
1 longish red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme
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, approximately 10 inches across the long way.  Drop the slice 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, yellow squash and red pepper 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.  Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs with your fingertips, running them down the stem.  Sprinkle the fresh 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 tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.

Serve soft goat cheese on top.

*I served the ratatouille on pan-fried polenta and goat cheese on top (for Todd, not for me, I don't love goat cheese, so sad) with crusty French bread to soak up the tomato sauce in the bottom of the pan.

*The picture was taken before it was cooked.

This recipe is from Smitten Kitchen

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