Last week my hubby and I took the children to see Ratatouille. We had both seen good reviews and were interested so we drove the 20 miles to the nearest theater for a rare family movie night. The movie was certainly entertaining - a rat with special talents seeking more than the colony could provide and making a liaison with the dreaded enemy. I do have one caveat. You must be thoroughly able to separate your reality and enter the world of Remy and Linguine. Even with the completely beautiful animation, I found it difficult to stomach scenes with the full colony of rats moving and of any rat touching the food in a restaurant. Call me squeamish, but my willingness to suspend disbelief was stretched as far as it could go. Rats and food don't mix. Yet, I really liked the idea of a most unlikely candidate for chef rising from the gutter to stardom. My opinions and hangups aside, my children loved the movie and have been asking for Ratatouille daily. They were ecstatic when I served their requested Ratatouille atop Linguine (one of the characters from the movie) garnished with a slice of fresh mozzarella and a piece of crostini.
Here is the recipe I used that came (I think) from a 2004 Martha Stewart Living, which my mother gave every household in the family as a show of support of Martha during her ignominy because she felt Martha was singled out because she was a strong woman while men in a similar position would have been applauded for a job well done, yet it really sounds like an Ina Garten recipe since the zucchini and eggplant are roasted. Perhaps there was a feature on Ina Garten in Martha Stewart Living in 2004, yet I checked the Barefoot Contessa website's index of books and didn't find the recipe. I salute and bow to whomever created this version of Ratatouille.
1 eggplant -- cut into 1" cubes (about 1 1/2 lbs)
4 zucchini -- medium, cut into 1" cubes
1/2 cup olive oil -- plus 2 TBLS
2 TBLS thyme -- coarsely chopped
salt and pepper
6 lbs tomatoes -- about 10, peeled and seeded and quartered
2 bell pepper -- roasted and skinned
4 garlic cloves -- finely chopped
2 onions -- halved and cut into half moons
1/2 cup basil -- coarsely chopped
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley -- coarsely chopped
Preheat oven to 400. Toss together the eggplant, zucchini, 1/2 cup oil, 1 TBLS thyme, 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp pepper on a large baking sheet. Roast, tossing occasionally, until vegetables are golden, about 1 hour.
Cut peppers lengthwise in 1/2" strips. When eggplant and zucchini are done roasting, heat remaining 2 TBLS oil in a large deep skillet over medium high heat until hot, but not smoking. Add garlic and onions and cook until soft, about 4 minutes. Add tomatoes and peppers. Cook until tomatoes are soft, about 7 minutes. Add eggplant and zucchini, 1/4 cup basil, and remaining Tablespoon of thyme. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium-low; simmer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are very soft, about 30 minutes. Stir in parsley and remaining 1/4 cup basil. Cook until heated through, about 1 minute more.