Okay, ever since I saw the movie with the boys, I just HAD to make this dish. And the boys were eager for me to do it, until they found out that the red in the dish was NOT pepperoni! LOL! But the recipe calls for ingredients that I don't normally keep on hand, namely, eggplant and squash. Blech.
Finally, I bought some at the store. I got the long, slender Japanese eggplant. And I used the recipe found here: http://smittenkitchen.com/2007/07/rat-a-too-ee-for-you-ee/ It's not the recipe developed for the movie, but an easier version with a cute go-along story.
So, in the making of the dish, a couple of comments. The Japanese eggplant works really well because the size is similar to squash and zucchini and makes the whole layering thing nice. I could not find a long narrow red pepper, so this was problematic. Therefore I wasted time tearing off small pieces of my thinly sliced pepper to make it fit. (yes, it would have gone faster to use a knife and cut a bunch at once, but I ran out of counter space as you'll see in the picture and ran out of clean cutting boards) Another note, using a mandolin makes this thing go very fast. Please use the guard and make the effort to learn how to use it if you haven't before. My thumb wishes I had, but that's an old story. No fatalities with this dish. Eggplant is too rubbery to be sliced by a mandolin (another reason to avoid this creepy plant - but I'm not being fair...). Two more things: I didn't have a can of pureed tomatoes on hand so I pureed diced canned tomatoes, and I didn't have fresh thyme so I just sprinkled on the dried thyme I had in the spice rack.
I even took pictures so you can see what it REALLY looks like! If you go to the link above, it's really pretty. Here's what mine looked like:
excuse the cluttered counter (pb and lime do not go in the dish - I'm just not a neat person) but you get an idea of what it looks like right after I finished layering the veggies.
this is what it looks like before I put it in the oven, after I've drizzled on the oil and seasoned it, but before the parchment.
fresh out of the oven - notice mine doesn't look as pretty as smitten kitchen's - but it looks like it came from a real home.
results: (disclaimer, I've never eaten ratatouille before, so I don't know what it's supposed to taste like)
I got Ryan to take a bite - no comment.
Jake: it tastes better than you think it would
Gary: hey, that's not bad
me: yum! you can't even taste the eggplant! Can't wait to finish off the leftovers for lunch tomorrow. I think it's a really healthy dish, but high in sodium. I've come to the conclusion that thinly slicing a disliked vegetable is a good thing.
This recipe is a keeper!! That's pretty good for a vegetable dish in this household.