David's Ratatouille Recipe
Prep time: ~45 mins
Cook time: ~3 hours
1 - Large yellow onion
1 - 28oz can of crushed tomato
1 - Package of zucchini
1 - Packageof yellow squash
2 or 3 - japanese eggplant depending on size (If you can't find japanese eggplant, get 1 or 2 regular eggplant but try to get the skinniest ones as possible, the idea being that all the veggies should be roughly the same diameter)
5 - roma tomatoes
1 - head of elephant garlic (in publix it's usually near the prechopped garlic tubs on an endcap in the produce area)
1 - green bell pepper
1 - red bell pepper
1 - package of fresh basil
1 - lemon
1 - parm cheese (I used the publix available fancy balsamic parm)
optional - a couple cherry peppers/jalapeno
1) roast the bell peppers (and cherry peppers if added) in the oven/ over gas stove to char the skin to be peeled away after. I use the oven because I don;t have a gas stove, but also so my attention can go towards other steps while it's in the oven
2) Medium dice the yellow onion and sweat it with a bit of salt and pepper in a large high-walled pan (the one that will be going in the oven and the dish will be built in). While the onion is sweating (no caramelizing please!) use a mandolin slicer to slice all the veggies into disks, including the garlic except the roma tomatoes, have to slice those by hand. When onions are golden translucent add in the can of crushed tomato and minced basil. (if you want to add in a bit of the red wine i'm sure you're drinking, now's the time). Season to taste with salt/pepper.
3) Remove peppers from oven and peel off charred skin/de-seed. medium chop the peppers and add into the tomato sauce. Once everything is mixed together, turn off the heat and move to a stable heat proof workspace. (set oven to 275-280 degrees now)
4) starting with the outside layer, start building the layers of veggies on top of the tomato sauce, whatever order you want, but STAY CONSISTENT. Build from outside in, and make either concentric circles (easier) or a spiral (harder). Don't worry if the layers are flat at first, what I did was finish the outside circle then slide the slices further onto each other and add in another complete layer of veggies to make the circle more full till it was how I wanted it. The veggie slices should be at like 35 degrees angled onto each other.
5) When it looks good, sprinkle with a bit of salt and pepper and cover it with foil and pop it in the oven for ~2.5 hours, we are slow cooking, brazing the veggies here. If you're going to save it for later, take it out and keep covered in the fridge. Right before serving, pop it back in the oven at 350-375 for ~20 mins without the foil and get a bit of color on it. (may help to give it a drizzle of olive oil).
6) Serve with some grated parmesan cheese and grated lemon zest (MUST add the lemon zest!!!), and a bit of chiffonaded basil.