Remy’s Pixar Style Ratatouille


Ratatouille is a French stewed vegetable dish normally taking a long time and a lot of olive oil. Created to use up over ripe vegetables, it originated in Nice and was typically peasant food with its lovely warming and satisfying flavour. Whilst most people use their ratatouille as a side for meat, traditionally it was a meal in itself, the vegetables cooked together and served in a bowl with a hunk of bread and cheese.

Like Remy the Rat in Pixar’s classic movie, we love ratatouille. It’s a bit of a forgotten gem of a dish, often overlooked or considered a bit too much work to do yourself. Remy famously served his unique version to the much-feared Parisian restaurant critic Anton Ego (voiced by Peter O’Toole) to try and rebuild the reputation of Gusteau’s restaurant, much to the surprise of Ego who viewed it as far too low-end. Until he tasted it.

Taking just over an hour to cook with its simple but rich sauce, our version of Remy’s Ratatouille is faithful to the rodent’s intentions as it really allows the vegetables to sing. Each thin slice of aubergine, courgette and tomato is separate and cooked in the sauce rather than blended together. The richness of the wine and herbs in the sauce coupled with the sweetness of the pepper and citrus notes of the coriander leave the vegetables with some bite and structure, whilst still warming and comforting as you eat. A little cheese (which Remy was very partial too) grated over the top adds the protein for a full meal, and a hunk of warm bread is essential for soaking up the juices.



Ingredients – Serves 2 as a main, or 4 as a side.

Sauce

1 red onion, finely diced

4 cloves of garlic, finely diced

1 tsp coriander seeds, crushed

1 tsp dried mixed herbs

1 pepper (any colour), finely chopped

200ml red wine

350ml passata or tinned tomatoes

Olive oil

Salt and pepper to season

Filling

4 – 6 large tomatoes, finely sliced

1 aubergine finely sliced

1 large courgette finely sliced

2 tsp pesto OR a handful fresh basil finely chopped

Olive Oil

2 tsp salt

Black pepper

Optional:

Grated cheese to top – especially good if serving as a main with warm crusty bread.


Method

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees fan.

2. Thinly slice the aubergine, courgette and tomato as per the ingredients list. You are looking for them to be as thin as possible but still be able to be handled.

3. Put your thin aubergine slices in a bowl with the salt and some olive oil and mix to coat. Then give a couple of good twists of black pepper and set to one side.

4. Now onto the sauce. Take a large frying pan and add the garlic, onion, 2 tablespoons of olive oil, pepper and the mixed herbs. Fry off until soft.

5. Add the wine and reduce by approximately half.

6. Next, add the passata or chopped tinned tomatoes and simmer for 5 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

7. Take a good baking dish, square or circular doesn’t matter, it just needs to be at least a couple of inches deep and pour in the sauce, spread it evenly and right to the edges.

8. Now take your vegetables and build into layers of aubergine, then tomato, then courgette and stand them up in the sauce. Keep going until you have used them all up and filled the dish in rows or circles.

9. Next, spoon the pesto over the vegetables (or sprinkle the chopped basil if using) and drizzle a line of the oil down the centre. Season with salt and pepper, and place a foil lid over the top.

10. Bake for 40 mins in the top of the oven, then remove the foil and bake for a further 30 mins. If you are adding grated cheese as a topping add that 20 mins before the end.


#vegetarian #ratatouille #food #cooking

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