Silver Screen Ratatouille

This ratatouille is an adaptation of the beautiful version presented in the animated Disney movie “Ratatouille.” Cooking it in a spring-form cake pan allows for a particularly attractive presentation. It serves four to six as a side dish.

For the piperade:

1 each red, orange and yellow bell pepper, halved, seeds and ribs removed
4 T olive oil
2 t minced garlic
1 C diced onion
6 tomatoes, peeled, seeded and diced
2 sprigs thyme
2 sprigs parsley
1 bay leaf
kosher salt

Heat oven to 450; place pepper halves, cut-side down, on foil-lined baking sheet. Roast 15 minutes until skin has loosened. When cool enough to handle, peel and chop finely and reserve. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet, add onion and garlic. Cook over low heat until onions are very soft but not brown, about 10 minutes. Add reserved peppers, tomatoes and herbs. Simmer piperade until vegetables are very soft and very little liquid remains, about 15 minutes. Discard the herbs, adjust the seasoning and puree in a food processor.

For the ratatouille

Select vegetables that are similar in diameter

2 zucchini
2 yellow squash
2 Japanese eggplant
8 Roma tomatoes
1 t minced garlic
4 t olive oil
1 t fresh thyme leaves
Kosher salt and ground pepper

Slice all vegetables into 1/6-inch rounds; combine olive oil, thyme and salt and
pepper; reserve.

For the vinaigrette

1 T piperade
2 T olive oil
1 T balsamic vinegar
1 T assorted chopped herbs – parsley, basil, thyme

Combine ingredients and reserve.

Assembly:

Preheat oven to 275. If using a spring-form cake pan, place assembled pan on a
foil-lined baking sheet. Spread piperade over the bottom of the pan. Down the center of the pan, arrange vegetable slices in a single line, alternating colors, and overlapping so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed. Around the center strip, overlap vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. Repeat until the pan is filled. Sprinkle with reserved oil mixture. Cover tightly with foil and bake two hours. Uncover, bake another 30 minutes until vegetables are well done and almost no liquid remains in the bottom. Remove, let ratatouille set for 15 minutes. To serve, remove spring-form and carefully slide ratatouille onto a serving plate, using a spatula to guide it. Drizzle with vinaigrette.

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