Tuesday, 11 August 2009
I made this last night in a bid to convince myself I hadn't lost my cooking mojo. And after a day of eating nothing but failed cake (what? I gotsta hide the evidence!) I needed some form of vegetables to ensure I stayed one step ahead of scurvy.
This recipe was going to be SK's Ratatouille’s Ratatouille, but owing to the fact that what I hoped was a courgette (zucchini) turned out to be a huge and oddly shaped cucumber, and there was no yellow squash to be had, mine turned out less bright and summery than the original. I'd like to think equally delicious, but more something you'd have as a side with meat, or atop of pasta (especially once I put cheese on top). I had to make do with the vegetables I had in the fridge, so I used a mix of white fleshed sweet potato, aubergine (eggplant), and red bell pepper. I used between a half and a quarter of each vegetable because I was making an individual serving, so I'd guess to use one of each it would serve 3-4 people.
1 clove garlic, sliced really thin
Onion, finely chopped
olive oil, some for the tomato sauce and some for the top
Aubergine (eggplant), sliced very thinly
Courgette (zucchini), sliced very thinly
Sweet potato, sliced thinly
Salt and Pepper
Oregano (or herb of choice)
My supermarket stopped selling tomato sauce, so I had chopped tomatoes
I thought I had the thyme the original recipe calls for but it turned out I didn't, so I used oregano instead.
As mentioned, my courgette turned out to be a cucumber, so I used a sweet potato I had.
Method to the madness
1) Preheat oven to 375F/190C (convection oven: 355/180C). Run your can of chopped tomatoes through a sieve until you have a nice smooth sauce
Pour the sauce into the base of your cooking dish. I covered the whole base with a thin layer which made the end result a little more wet (good for pasta etc), where as the original used less.
2) Scatter your garlic and onions into the tomato (hence the need for the pieces to not be too big or thick), and stir in half your olive oil (a tablespoon or a teaspoon depending on how big the dish is). Salt and pepper generously.
3) Make sure your vegetables are thinly sliced. I have a slicer to do that, but you can do it with a sharp knife and a bit of patience. I actually ended up taking a knife to my bell pepper because it was too big for the slicer surface (there were no taller longer ones in the produce section that would have fit it).
4) I really liked the look of the vegetable layering in the SK recipe, so I used it. Place one of each vegetable slice on top of each other with just the edge of the veg showing. Repeat this until you've gone all the way around your dish and filled in the centre.
5) Drizzle the rest of your olive oil over the top, add salt and pepper, and sprinkle it with whichever herb you decided on.
6) Cut a piece of waxed paper (parchment paper) top fit inside the dish over the veg a a lid.
7) Bake for 45-55 minutes (convection oven: 35-45), until the vegetables have released their liquid and are cooked through, but still retain their shape (you don't want them too limp). I used more sauce as I said, so I think it's ok for them to be a little softer provided they're not mush, you want to keep the layers for pretty presentation.
Once it was done I took the paper lid off and added some cheese, then turned up the oven to melt/brown it for 5 minutes. You could also do this under the grill or skip the cheese altogether.
Serve it with pasta, as a side for meat, or (if like me you're full of cake and not wanting anything too heavy) just on it's own.