Monday, February 25, 2008

Ratatouille Recipe (& Film) Earns Top Marks

In honor of Ratatouille, the movie, winning the Oscar for best animated film yesterday, I thought posting a recipe for ratatouille, the dish, would be fitting. Anyone who has seen the movie will recall at the end when a beautifully plated morsel of ratatouille is served to a harsh food critic. As the plate is presented before this critic, it seems as though you can almost smell the wonderful aromas emanating from the screen. Watching this scene was great except for one thing, I didn't have a clue what ratatouille was so I didn't know what I was supposed to be smelling. So, as I'm sure many people ended up doing after watching the movie, I immediately set out to discover what ratatouille was. Here's what I found:

Ratatouille is a classic French Provençal vegetable stew which can be served either as an appetizer, a side dish or a meal on its own. According to Wikipedia, "Ratatouille comes from "touiller," which means to toss food. ... It was originally a poor farmer's dish, prepared in the summer with fresh summer vegetables. The original Ratatouille Niçoise used only courgettes (zucchini), tomatoes, green and red peppers (bell peppers), onion, and garlic. The dish known today as ratatouille adds aubergine (eggplant) to that mixture."

Most importantly, however, given that I'm writing about this on this blog, is that ratatouille, in its basic form, is dairy-free, egg-free, and nut-free. If you like eggplant, you will probably like ratatouille. Below is a well-reviewed ratatouille recipe from Epicurious that is intended to be a meal on its own. In this version, the vegetables are roasted in stages and then tossed with cooked penne pasta. I made this recently and thought it was quite good despite the fact that I wasn't using peak summer vegetables or fresh herbs. I imagine this would be even better if I did use the freshest of ingredients. I've also included a link to a basic recipe for ratatouille by Everyday Food. I haven't tried this one yet, but it looks simple and promising. Please let me know how it is if you decide to make it.

RECIPE: Ratatouille with Penne* from Epicurious

*Recipe Note: To make this dairy-free, simply omit the grated cheese accompaniment.

RECIPE: Ratatouille from Everyday Food

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