Ratatouille: a simple classic

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With holiday entertaining just around the corner, I love this ratatouille for its simplicity, presentation and better yet, low maintenance. All you need to do is slice, stack, and bake. The majority of the time spent for this dish is in the baking, which frees you up to do other things – like preparing other parts of your feast or getting ready to look your best! Either way, it’s a win win.

Ingredients: (serves 4-6)

  • 1 Japanese eggplant (you can use regular eggplant too, I like the Japanese eggplants as they’re bigger in girth, which works better for stacking)
  • 4 medium tomatos
  • 1 large zucchini or 2-3 small ones
  • Olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon of dried thyme, or fresh if you have it
  • Fresh basil
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste

Preparation:

1) Thinly slice your eggplant, tomatoes, and zucchini into slices that are approximately between a quarter to half an inch wide.

2) Oil a baking pan or casserole dish, and sprinkle in a little salt, pepper, and thyme. Just a little is fine – as you’ll be doing this between some of the layers, and don’t want to overdo it or your ratatouille will be too salty.

3) The way you wish to serve this dish will dictate how you stack the vegetables in your pan. If you want to serve it more like a casserole, then stack your slices of eggplant, tomato, and zucchini where each slice overlaps the ones previous both vertically and horizontally (like the scales of a fish), covering the bottom of your pan evenly. If you wish to serve the ratatouille as individual stacks (like in the photo above), tile your first pieces of vegetable so the edges are touching, but not overlapping. (You’ll be building towers of alternating of eggplant, tomato.)

4) After each layer of eggplant, drizzle a little oil on top. After each tomato slice, sprinkle a little salt and pepper and thyme.

5) Bake your casserole or ratatouille towers for about 40 minutes at 250ºF or until you can see the edges curling a little and browning.

6) When your ratatouille is done, drizzle a little more oil on it and garnish with a basil leaf.

Enjoy and happy holidays!

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