Ratatouille the movie is a glorious treat in which an animated rat creates a magnificent ratatouille (recipe courtesy of real-life chef Thomas Keller of the French Laundry). Here is my version: a little unorthodox but wonderful. I roast the vegetables and tomatoes with lots of fresh herbs, garlic and a mustard sauce.
You can vary the quantity of vegetables, if desired. Use plum tomatoes as they have a thicker skin and hold their shape better. Sicilian eggplant is football shaped and sweeter and less seedy than the regular variety (which can be used in its place).
Serve as a main course for lunch or an appetizer for dinner.
Cover with cheese and bake for 25 minutes for an accompaniment to roast lamb. Here, it is tossed with pasta.
2 cups chopped onions
1 Sicilian eggplant, cut into ½-inch dice
4 cups chopped zucchini (½-inch dice)
1 red pepper, cut into ½-inch dice
3 ½ cups plum tomatoes, quartered
4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3 tablespoons slivered fresh basil
2 tablespoons chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons chopped fresh oregano
Salt and freshly ground pepper
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
1 pound penne pasta
¼ cup chopped parsley
Grated Pecorino or Parmesan cheese
Preheat oven to 400 F.
Combine onion, eggplant, zucchini, red pepper and tomatoes in a large bowl.
Stir in garlic, basil, thyme and oregano and season well with salt and pepper.
Whisk together mustard and oil and toss with vegetables.
Spread vegetables on a large baking pan and bake for 50 minutes, stirring after 30 minutes, until vegetables are tender and slightly browned but not soupy.
Bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add penne and cook according to package directions. Drain, reserving some pasta cooking water.
Toss pasta with ratatouille mixture, thinning with reserved pasta cooking water if desired. Add parsley and sprinkle with cheese. Serves 6.