Pillbox

Marika's Menu - Ratatouille

Credit: Marika Yang/Publisher Credit: Marika Yang/Publisher

After a long hiatus, Marika’s Menu is back! This week, we’re making a hearty and healthy dish stuffed with fall ingredients: ratatouille!

Most people have heard of this delicious garden dish because of the Pixar film of the same name, but the dish itself only comes up at the end of the film, when Remy makes it for the harsh critic. But have you actually had the dish itself? With many different kinds of vegetables arranged in a beautiful spiral, ratatouille is surprisingly easy to make.

Pro tip: if you can, or if it’s the right season, I highly recommend going to your local farmers' market for your ingredients. Fresh vegetables go a long way to make a dish that much better.

Ingredients

The vegetables
- 1 yellow squash
- 1 zucchini
- 1 eggplant (Chinese eggplant recommended for shape)
- 3 Roma tomatoes

The tomato sauce
- 3 tomatoes (any kind)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 onion, diced
- 1 bell pepper (red or orange), diced
- 3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 1 tbsp tomato paste
- 6-8 leaves of basil, chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste

The herb dressing
- 3-4 leaves of basil, chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- Assorted herbs by preference (e.g., thyme, parsley, etc.)
- Salt and pepper to taste

Directions
1) Preheat oven to 375 °F.
2) Thinly slice the yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, and roma tomatoes into 1/16 inch (1 mm) rounds. Set aside.
3) Cut a shallow “x” at the bottom of the three tomatoes. Steam tomatoes for 3 minutes, or until the skin peels right off. After peeling, dice the tomatoes, making sure to keep all the juices.
4) In an oven-safe pan,* heat the olive oil, dump in the diced onions and bell pepper, and stir fry on high heat for 5 minutes, until the onion begins to grow translucent. Stir continuously to prevent too much browning. Add in the minced garlic, diced tomatoes, and tomato paste and stir for 1-2 minutes until the tomatoes are incorporated with the onion and pepper into a thick sauce. Season with salt and pepper and top with chopped basil.
5) Take your sliced vegetables from step 2 and organize into an alternating pattern (such as a slice of yellow squash, zucchini, eggplant, tomato, and repeat). Carefully arrange in the pan over the tomato sauce, beginning from the edge and making your way to the center. The rounds would be overlapping and layered (see photo).
6) In a bowl, combine chopped basil, minced garlic, olive oil, assorted herbs, and salt and pepper to make the herb dressing. Spoon about half of the dressing liberally over the vegetables.
7) Cover the pan with aluminum foil and put it in the heated oven. Bake for 30 minutes, remove the foil and bake for another 20 minutes.
8) After baking, spoon the rest of the herb seasoning over the dish. Serve warm. Bon Appétit!

*If you do not have an oven-safe pan, no worries — simply transfer the finished sauce into a round baking dish.