Click here for a PDF of this recipe without photos.

When Pixar made the film Ratatouille, they engaged Thomas Keller in a consulting capacity.  The producers spent time in Keller’s kitchen at the French Laundry to get a feel for how a commercial kitchen operates.  They also asked Keller “if you wanted to serve Ratatouille to a restaurant critic, how would you prepare it?” The result is, essentially, this recipe.  If you’ve seen the film, you’ll recognize almost every step in the preparation.

A couple of notes.  First, this calls for Japanese eggplant which I’ve always included.  I couldn’t find it this weekend, so I just omitted it.  If you can find it, definitely use it.  Second, I generally use an oval dish so I can spiral the vegetables out from the center.  I didn’t have access to one this weekend, so I just went with rows in a rectangular dish.

Adapted from Thomas Keller’s recipe for Confit Biyaldi

For Piperade

  • ½ red pepper, seeds removed
  • ½ yellow pepper, seeds removed
  • ½ orange pepper, seeds removed
  • 2 Tb olive oil
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • ½ cup minced onion
  • 3 tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and finely diced (juices reserved)
  • 1 thyme sprig
  • 1 parsley sprig
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Salt

For vegetables

  • 3 zucchini
  • 2 japanese eggplant
  • 3 yellow squash
  • 4 roma tomatoes
  • Minced garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

For vinagrette

  • 3 Tb extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • Fresh herbs (parsley, chervil, thyme)
  • 2 Tb reserved piperade

Make the Piperade – Heat oven to 450 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with foil and place peppers-  cut side down – on the foil.  Roast for about 20 minutes or until skins are loose.  Remove and rest until you’re able to handle them.  Remove skins and finely chop.  In a small saucepan, combine oil, garlic, and onion.  Cook over low heat for about 10 minutes.  Add tomatoes and their juice, thyme, parsley, and bay leaf.  Simmer until almost no liquid remains – about 10 minutes.  Add peppers and simmer until they are very soft.  Remove from heat; discard thyme, parsley, and bay leaf, and season with salt to taste.  Reserve 1 Tb for the vinaigrette and spread the rest over the bottom of a baking dish.

Prep the vegetables – preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Slice all vegetables into uniform-thickness slices.  In the center of the pan, add 8 alternating slices of vegetables.  Continue, overlapping, until the full pan is covered.

Mix garlic, oil, and salt, and drizzle over the top of the vegetables.  Cover with foil as tightly as possible, then bake for about 1.5 hours.  Uncover and bake another 30 minutes to lightly brown the top.  It may be served now or up to 2 days later.  (If you refrigerate, reheat un a 350 degree oven until warm.)  Drizzle with the vinaigrette.

1 Response to “Ratatouille”

  1. 1 Jess May 8, 2010 at 1:58 PM

    Shoot, I could have picked you up some Japanese eggplant at the international grocery that I frequent. And I suppose I could have returned Mom’s roast pan sooner than 5 months after borrowing, thus allowing you to create your finest meal possible. I ruined everything. 😉

    Dinner was awesome, and I loved the ratatouille. Thanks again!

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