Here is our take on the Ratatouille recipe by Ina Garten (Barefoot Contessa), which we think is a little easier. First, Garten’s recipe is excellent and delicious, but not exactly “easy” as it’s marked on the website based on the Ratatouille recipe not being complete until combined with another recipe of hers – Creamy Polenta.
This Ratatouille recipe is similar to Garten’s, but simplified in more of a traditional manner to a conventional French Ratatouille. If you’re looking for a tasty Ratatouille that is similar to the one on the Barefoot Contessa site, but contains a few fewer ingredients and is a little less time constraining, this is a great option if you’re willing to fore-go the polenta.
2-3 fresh tomatoes, pureed with a pinch of sea salt
2 Tbsp olive oil, divided
3 tsp fresh thyme, basil, parsley, and/or oregano, finely chopped
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow/summer squash
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
2-3 small plum tomatoes
1⁄2 red bell pepper (seeds removed)
Sea salt and pepper
Optional: Cast-iron skillet
Preheat oven to 400°F. Pour tomato puree, 1 tablespoon of olive oil and half of the chopped fresh herbs into a baking dish. Stir in the chopped shallot and garlic.
Season the mixture with salt and pepper.
Thinly and evenly slice the vegetables using either a mandolin or knife – whichever you’re more comfortable with. The thinner the slices, the better the final product will be.
Stack about 20 slices in sequence in a pan. You can use any pan, but skillets work best, and cast-iron skillets really make a nice end product (see cover photo).
Arrange a few stacks at a time into the prepared baking dish in a concentric spiral from the outer edge to the inside, fanning them out a bit so that you can see the top 1/8” of all the slices. These will stack better and save more space if they aren’t flat, but rather are tilted upward a bit over a small space (think of how napkins stand up in a napkin holder). Use the larger slices for the outside, and swirl around the pan. Use the smaller bits for the middle.
Drizzle with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and season with more salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining chopped herbs. Cover the dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to it just inside the dish rim, directly on top of the vegetable arrangement.
Bake for 45 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft
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