Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ratatouille - The Actual Dish From the Pixar Movie

Ratatouille remains one of all my all-time favorite films, and not just because it features food as a theme, but Brad Bird's film is simply perfect from start to finish.

It is also an animated feature that is equally meant for adults as it is for children. The final speech given my the food critic, Anton Ego is simply one of the best endings to a film ever.

And I always remember the dish that Remy the Rat cooked for Anton that so wowed the food critic so much that he would eventually endorse a rat as the finest chef in France. High praise indeed.

Ratatouille is actually a very common dish that is simply roasted vegetables, and I wondered to myself - Can a vegetable dish be that spectacular? I was determined to find out the answer for myself.

To begin, brown some diced onions and 2 whole tomatoes in a pan until the onions are aromatic and caramelized. The tomatoes should also melt until they are soft and almost sauce like.

Add some wine and water if the mixture gets too dry. Season with some salt and pepper and set aside for later.

Finely slice one green zucchini, one squash (or yellow zucchini) and one eggplant. Use a slicer for the best result.

In a casserole dish, line the bottom with some baking paper and add some extra virgin olive oil. Sauce the tomato onion mixture to form a base in the casserole dish.

Layer the tomato mixture with alternate slices of zucchini, squash and eggplant and ensure they are very close together. Cover the entire tomato mixture.

Heat up the oven to about 150 deg C for a few minutes. Add some more olive oil on the top of the vegetables and season with a little more salt and lots of pepper.

Cover the top with another sheet of baking paper and put it in the oven for about 25 minutes.

Remove from the oven and sprinkle a generous heap of parmesan cheese on top and put it in the oven for another 5 minutes for the cheese to melt.

Remove from oven and sprinkle some additional fresh parmesan and serve on a plate. Spoon the tomato onion mixture on top and there you have it.

I was surprised how delicious this ratatouille dish was, the roasted vegetables were beautifully aromatic and tomato onion sauce provided a nice acidity to the flavors and the cheese just had that hint of savoriness to the overall taste.

Wonderful. And to quote from the movie itself, anyone can cook this ratatouille dish!