Anyone who has a backyard garden or who is a member of a CSA gets to the point in the summer where they do not want to see another summer squash! We have roasted it, grilled it, stir fried it, baked it in bread, froze it, and are dreaming about it! Ratatouille is yet another way to use the abundance of summer veggies. Put the Ratatouille movie in for the kids, pour yourself a glass of wine or ice tea and have a good time. Lets get cooking.
From the garden you will need:
One yellow squash, one green zucchini, 2 egg plants depending on size, 3 potatoes, an onion, 4 gloves of garlic, thyme, about 1 1/2 cup sliced peppers and 3 tomatoes. Wash all your produce.
Preheat oven to 375. Start by boiling some water to blanch your potatoes, the potatoes just need a cooking head start so they are not too crunchy.
While the water is boiling you can slice the rest of your veggies. I recommend a mandolin for this, but a knife and a board would work find. You will slice the potatoes, peppers, eggplant, squash, and tomatoes. I found that the knife worked better for the tomatoes. You want thin slices maybe a 1/4 cm thick, start with your potatoes, because you will need them first.
Once the water comes to a boil, blanch your potatoes for 3-4 minutes, then pull them out of the water and set them aside to cool while you finish slicing your veggies.
Put all your veggies neatly on a tray to make the arranging easier in the future. Next dice your onions and your garlic. Now lets start cooking. The sauce at the bottom of your pan is what gives your veggies all their flavor, so don’t be overwhelmed by the flavor you put in here.
I highly recommend cast iron pans in all my recipes, but if you do not have cast iron, you will need to cook this in a pan that is pretty deep and can transfer from the stove top to the oven. Saute your onions and garlic in a table spoon of butter until they are clear.
To this we are going to add salt and pepper to taste, a pinch of red pepper flakes, pinch of paprika and 1/2 tsp of thyme. Once the onions are done, add 1 cup of tomato sauce, we used sauce we had canned, but any store sauce will do. Let simmer why you start the bechamel sauce.
Bechamel is a fancy word for cream sauce, don’t let it scare you, it is very easy to make. In a med sauce pan melt 1 tbsp of butter. Once butter is melted add 2 tbsp of flour. This will quickly turn to a paste. Slowly add 1 cups of milk. I use goats milk, but you can use 1/2 and 1/2, whole milk, skim or a stock. I recommend a fatty milk for more flavor. Once the milk just starts to warm and you see bubbles in the milk on the side of the pot, add 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese. Wisk until smooth. Pour 1/2 of the mixture over the tomato sauce mixture in your skillet. Turn off the burners.
Now we start layering. Take one slice of each type of veggie. Potato, eggplant, zucchini, squash, tomatoes and pepper. Starting around the outside of the pan layer them in a circle. It will look like this. Keep going till you used up all your veggies or you have crammed everything you can into the pan. I always seem to have extra veggies.
Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Parmesan. Cover with parchment paper and put in the oven to back for 50 minutes or until the veggies are tender. I have to put a cookie sheet under because it bubbles over. Once veggie are tender turn off oven, remove and let stand for 5 minutes. The remaining cream sauce will go on the top when you plate! Enjoy!
By Shades of Lavender
Produce from the garden:
- 1 med eggplant
- 1 zucchini
- 1 yellow squash
- 3 med. Tomatoes
- 1 onion
- 4 gloves garlic
- 2 green peppers
- 2 potatoes
- Tsp thyme
- 2 tbsp Butter
- 1 cup Milk
- ½ cup Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup tomato sauce
- 1 tbsp flour
- Pinch salt
- Pinch pepper
- Pinch paprika
- Pinch red pepper flakes
Preheat stove to 375o. Bring a med. Size pot of water to boil. Dice onions and garlic. Use mandolin to slice rest of veggies to 1/4 cm thick. Boil sliced potatoes for 3 mins, remove from water. In skillet, sauté onions and garlic once clear add tomato sauce, thyme and paprika to skillet and let simmer. In a separate small sauce pan melt butter, add flour and milk, whisk until thickens and add parmesan cheese. Drizzle 1/2 of cream sauce on top of tomato sauce. Start layering the sliced veggies one of each kind, standing up around the skillet, till the skillet is full. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover with parchment paper. Bake for 50 mins. Let stand for 5 minutes. When you serve drizzle the rest of the cream sauce to the top.