This beautiful ratatouille will impress with its colors but is surprisingly easy to make!
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Do you not just LOVE how it looks?!? It’s a stunner of a dish, and it’s hearty enough to be a meal in itself. Or pair it with something easy like roast chicken for more protein to feed a crowd.
My mom and I first made ratatouille because she got a mandoline for Christmas and wanted to try it out. This is the first thing I thought of, and it’s become a favorite at her house. The mandolin makes prepping this dish a breeze: slicing everything perfectly in less than 10 minutes.
Best of all? Customize the vegetables to suit your tastes! My mom amped up the zucchini and yellow squash because those are her favorites, but you can flex to whatever’s looking best at the farmer’s market or produce aisle today.
Ratatouille historically means a vegetable stew, thick and rustic. You can cut veggies into chunks and cook them low and slow to a make a ratatouille. The movie made the sliced version popular, and I love the technicolor pop it puts on the table.
The trick to this recipe is to choose vegetables that are about the same diameter: perfectly sized veggies makes everything line up perfectly. However, I’ve never succeeded in finding exactly the same sized eggplant as everything else. So don’t sweat it too much either way.
- 1 small eggplant
- 1-2 zucchini
- 1 yellow squash
- 1 medium or 3-4 fingerling potatoes
- 3 Roma tomatoes
- 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
- 1 Tbsp all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk (whole is best), at room temperature
- sprinkle nutmeg
- 1 cups tomato sauce (you can use store-bought marinara or straight canned tomato sauce, I prefer the canned so I can season it myself)
- 3-4 cloves garlic, minced
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1/2 tsp chili flakes
- 2 Tbsp olive oil
- salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375ºF. Slice everything on a mandoline. I like the 1/8 inch setting for this.
- Make a bechamel: melt the butter in a small saucepan, then add the flour and whisk constantly for 1-2 minutes, with the heat on low. Add the milk 1/4 cup at a time, whisking thoroughly after each addition. Cook on low until sauce begins to thicken. Add salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Set aside, off the heat.
- In a large dish, coat the dish with the tomato sauce. Add garlic, half the thyme, and half the chili flakes. Add bechamel and a drizzle of olive oil on top, swirling to combine a bit.
- Layer slices of vegetables. I never bother with an exact pattern, just mix them in so you get a variety in every bite.
- Sprinkle with the remaining chili flakes and thyme, more salt & pepper, and the remaining olive oil.
- Cover with a layer of parchment paper (protects the veggies from getting too brown under the heat) and bake, 60-70 minutes.
- Cool for about 5 minutes before serving.
All in all, not too complicated for a showstopper dish!
What’s your favorite fancy side dish? My other favorite has to be balsamic roasted brussels sprouts.
What are your favorite vegetarian dishes?? Share some recipes below!