Ratatouille

by Meeta Wolff

This chapter is a free excerpt from What's For Lunch, Honey?.

The second movie that Soeren ever saw in an actual theatre was the adorable Pixar movie Ratatouille (Rat-a-too-ee). It's such a pleasure to watch him getting all excited, I too became a kid and shared his enthusiasm and anticipation for the film. I was already familiar with the dish, so to celebrate the grand event I thought it would be fun to cook up this luxuriously rich, flavorful recipe at home!

The dish is a traditional French dish originating from the Provence region. Spiced with aromatic herbs, cooking this dish leaves the aroma lingering all throughout the house. However, one is often served this great, nutritious dish swimming in a liquidy bath with over-cooked vegetables. It’s no surprise that people have come to believe ratatouille is some kind of soup!

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The second movie that Soeren ever saw in an actual theatre was the adorable Pixar movie Ratatouille (Rat-a-too-ee). It's such a pleasure to watch him getting all excited, I too became a kid and shared his enthusiasm and anticipation for the film. I was already familiar with the dish, so to celebrate the grand event I thought it would be fun to cook up this luxuriously rich, flavorful recipe at home!

The dish is a traditional French dish originating from the Provence region. Spiced with aromatic herbs, cooking this dish leaves the aroma lingering all throughout the house. However, one is often served this great, nutritious dish swimming in a liquidy bath with over-cooked vegetables. It’s no surprise that people have come to believe ratatouille is some kind of soup!

The name is comprised of two components:
  • rata is slang from the French Army meaning “chunky stew”
  • touiller, which means “to stir”
Think of ratatouille as more of a concept dish than a specific recipe. It can take on a number of forms, and is open to interpretation and experimentation. Let your tastes and preferences inspire you to create your own signature version of ratatouille!

The basic components that define the ratatouille are:
  • tomatoes (the main ingredient)
  • zucchini
  • eggplant
  • garlic
  • onions
  • herbs
These ingredients are traditionally sautéed in olive oil and can be served over rice or potatoes, preferably with a crusty French bread.

When preparing ratatouille, keep in mind that the order of cooking is important, so keep the vegetables separate when preparing them. If cooking it for the first time, eat it hot as the main course. Have it again later as a cold hors-d'oeuvre. In the summertime, it's great as a cold main-course dish. It even keeps for several days in the refrigerator.

Enjoy with a nice glass of red wine.

Method:

  1. In a frying pan, sauté the onion, garlic and peppers in olive oil over a brisk heat, stirring frequently. Season with salt and pepper as you go along. When the peppers are ¾ cookedthey should be nice and crunchyremove from pan and keep warm.
  1. Sauté the aubergines until they are cooked through and nice and golden. Set aside with the peppers.
  1. Sauté the zucchini, adding the tomatoes and parsley as they start to become golden, and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Return the peppers and aubergines to the pan, mix all the vegetables thoroughly. Add the basil.
  1. If required, add a little water and then reduce. Transfer to a serving dish and garnish parsley and basil leaves.
Pille
Thank you, Meeta! We saw the movie in August, and really enjoyed it. I'm tempted to try making ratatouille their way - with thin overlapping slices, as it looked so elegant:)
OCTOBER 2, 2007 2:24:00 PM GMT+02:00
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