In the popular Disney animated film of the same name, Remy is a resident of Paris who appreciates good food and has quite a sophisticated palate. He would love to become a chef so he may create and enjoy endless culinary masterpieces to his heart’s delight. The only problem is Remy is a rat. To get over his lack of functional hands and diminished height, Remy teams with the hands of Linguini, a clumsy youth hired as a garbage boy. To save the soup that Linguini accidentally fouls, Remy throws in some ingredients; the soup is a wild success and Linguini’s career as a chef is born.
This world renown dish is from Provence, the sun-baked region of France that that sits along the Mediterranean Sea. Known its olive oil, tomatoes, capers and endless fresh vegetables, Provence is the height of Mediterranean cooking and Ratatouille is Provence’s gift to the world.
Ratatouille- Provence Vegetable Stew
- 10 inch baking dish or Dutch oven
- Baking pan lined with aluminum foil
- 2 medium Onion, roughly chopped
- 4 cloves Garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 tbsp Tomato paste
- 6 tbsp Extra virgin olive oil
- 14 oz Can of diced skinless tomatoes, juices reserved
- Kosher salt and fresh ground pepper
- 2 medium Eggplant (2½ lbs), unpeeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
- 2 large Yellow or red bell pepper, stemmed, seeded and cut into 1-inch pieces.
- 2 large Zucchini, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 2 large Yellow summer squash, halved lengthwise and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 tsp Dried thyme or 1 tbsp fresh
- 1 tsp Herbes de Provence (French dried herb blend). Found in spice section of market or see below.
- Sprinkle eggplant cubes with salt and let drain in a colander for 30 minutes. Pat dry.
- Preheat oven to 350°F (177°F). Line a baking sheet with tin foil. Put eggplant cubes across baking pan, cover with 2 tbsp of olive oil and top with another sheet of tin foil secured over the eggplant. Bake until soft, about 45 minutes. Set aside with top removed.
- Over medium-low heat, heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy pot. Add peppers, onion, and garlic and cook, uncovered, until wilted. About 10 minutes. Stir occasionally.
- Add zucchini, baked eggplant, and herbs de Provence. Cook another 10 minutes, stirring, to blend flavors. Season with salt and pepper.
- Add the diced and "crushed" tomatoes and tomato paste mixed into 1 cup reserved juices. Simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. After 30 minutes, stir in 2 tbsp oil and cook for 5 more minutes.
- Stir in parsley and thyme, adjust seasonings, if necessary. Serve hot, or at room temperature.
Homemade Herbes de Provence
- Combine 1 tbsp of the following dried spices in a jar: thyme, oregano, basil, marjoram, fennel seed, savory, and rosemary.
- This dish can be made a day-or-two in advance and refrigerated. This is one of those dishes that actually improves as the flavors have more time to blend.
- Herbs de Provence can be purchased in the spice section of most markets. To make your own, see recipe above.