Author Topic: Ratatouille (the dish, not the movie)  (Read 1096 times)

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audrey1962

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Ratatouille (the dish, not the movie)
« on: October 06, 2007, 02:54:30 PM »
I'm having a dinner party next Saturday and plan to make Ratatouille - both b/c it's current (movie this summer) and b/c I invited several vegetarians (it's not a completely veg-free meal - there will be one appetizer dish of sausage, but I want the main course to be vegetarian).

I found a recipe but was wondering:

- Has anyone made this before?
- Are there any tips/tricks I should know?
- Any seasonings I should definitely use? Not use?
- Is it substantial enough to be a main course?

Here's the rest of the menu in case it helps. Feel free to make suggestions. This is for an autumn-themed party:

Appetizers:
Cheese (sharp cheddar, blue and one other - suggestions welcome)
Crackers
Olives
Nuts
Sausage slices
Apple slices
Smoked salmon

Drinks:
Hot apple cider
Bloody Mary's (with or without vodka)
Assorted sodas
Beer
Wine

Main course:
Ratatouille
Mashed sweet potatoes
Michigan salad (greens, dried cherries, pine nuts, blue cheese, raspberry vinagrette)

Dessert:
Unsure - open to suggestions
Possibly apple based?
(I'm really horrible at pastry - I can not bake a cake! But I'm pretty good with using frozen pastry to create some type of fruit/pastry dish)

cicero

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Re: Ratatouille (the dish, not the movie)
« Reply #1 on: October 07, 2007, 12:35:43 PM »
i love ratatouille (the dish; i haven't seen the movie).

but i don't think it's substantial enuf for a main dish - it's basically stewed vegetables. its more of a side dish. unless you add some beans to it?

I don't know what recipe you are using, so I can't comment on it. I once found a recipe where the chef suggested to cut the vegetables into tiny squares - less cooking time - and the vegs remained crisper than usual. i liked it that way.

for the cheeses: i love sharp smelly cheese (the smellier the better!) but with two sharp cheeses i would suggest a third mellow one.

dessert: you can try an apple crumble if you don't want to make a pie with pastry - it's easy and it's really fail-proof. serve it with vanilla ice cream and you will ruuuule the world!

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blarg314

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Re: Ratatouille (the dish, not the movie)
« Reply #2 on: October 07, 2007, 11:30:37 PM »


I'd suggest a smoked Gouda or a Havarti to round out the cheeses.

By itself ratatouille isn't enough for a main course.  Maybe a Mexican rice and bean dish, or a hearty cheese bread as a more filling accompaniment.

I love ratatouille.  I use onion, garlic, tomatoes, zucchini, eggplant and either green or red pepper, with olive oil, basil, thyme, oregano and fresh parsely, salt and pepper.

I like the vegetables in fairly big, but bite sized chunks, stewed well until tender.

For the tomatoes - either use canned diced or whole tomatoes (with the whole ones just pick them up and squeeze them as you add them to the pot), or peel them beforehand.  To peel tomatoes, boil a pot of water, toss in the tomatoes and lift out with a slotted spoon when the skin starts to split. Cool, and the skins will peel of easily by hand. If you can't get good fresh tomatoes, use canned rather than unripe fresh ones.

For the eggplant - I like to use the long, skinny Asian eggplants.  It helps if you cut up the eggplant, salt it, and let it sit for about an hour, and then rinse thoroughly.  This makes it less bitter, and gets rid of some of the excess water.

Smaller zucchini tastes better than larger.

Saute the onions first, then add the zucchini, then the garlic, then the green peppers, as sauteeing green peppers too long makes them better. Then add the salted/rinsed eggplant for a minute or two and add in the tomatoes and juice and herbs. Simmer until the veggies are tender, and add the salt at the end to correct the seasonings.

It can be served warm or at room temperature, and is actually one of those dishes that tastes better the second day, so you can make it in advance. 

MyFamily

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Re: Ratatouille (the dish, not the movie)
« Reply #3 on: October 07, 2007, 11:33:29 PM »
my favorite ratatouille recipe is actually a baked version - layer the vegetables (potatoes, egg plant, onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes), repeat layers as necessary, cover with some bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil.  Yummy!  It is best reheated, and sometimes I'll also melt shredded cheese with it.


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audrey1962

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Re: Ratatouille (the dish, not the movie)
« Reply #4 on: October 09, 2007, 01:50:17 PM »
my favorite ratatouille recipe is actually a baked version - layer the vegetables (potatoes, egg plant, onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes), repeat layers as necessary, cover with some bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil.  Yummy!  It is best reheated, and sometimes I'll also melt shredded cheese with it.

Can you tell me more about the baked version? How long do you put it in the oven? At what temperature? Any particular type of cheese?

audrey1962

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Re: Ratatouille (the dish, not the movie)
« Reply #5 on: October 09, 2007, 01:58:03 PM »
Well, after reading everyone's posts, I've decided not to make ratatouille after all. There are a number of reasons why, includint that I have not perfected the recipe to my standards yet. However, probably the most important is that I served the dish to my husband this weekend and he reminded me that:

1) his dad doesn't like tomatoes
2) his mom doesn't like bell peppers

I really don't think I would enjoy the dish w/o those two ingredients, so I'll make it another time when the IL's aren't coming.

Oddly, his father does like marinara sauce, so I'll be making eggplant parmesan instead (a dish that I feel very comfortable making).

Thanks everyone for your advice!

Kathleen

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Re: Ratatouille (the dish, not the movie)
« Reply #6 on: October 09, 2007, 04:08:16 PM »
I use ratatouille as a main dish by pouring it over cooked pasta (usually fusilli) when it is done, sprinkling it with grated mozzarella cheese and putting it under the broiler until the cheese and melted and browned.

MyFamily

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Re: Ratatouille (the dish, not the movie)
« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2007, 12:13:32 PM »
my favorite ratatouille recipe is actually a baked version - layer the vegetables (potatoes, egg plant, onions, peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes), repeat layers as necessary, cover with some bread crumbs and drizzle with olive oil.  Yummy!  It is best reheated, and sometimes I'll also melt shredded cheese with it.

Can you tell me more about the baked version? How long do you put it in the oven? At what temperature? Any particular type of cheese?

I know you aren't making this now, but for the future:
once the vegetables are in, cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 for 90 minutes.  I just use whatever shredded cheese I have at home at that moment.


"The test of good manners is to be patient with bad ones" - Solomon ibn Gabirol