TV Tuesday: Ratatouille

wpid-remy-2013-09-6-21-44.jpg

Remy, the Star Chef, as drawn by my niece

I initially liked this Vegan Mofo theme, but I was also at a loss. Instantly. I’m not much of a TV watcher, though I have had my favorite shows over the years. What TV shows have any real food connection other than the obvious cooking shows? Nothing came to mind except eating cereal on Seinfeld. I love movies though. Right away one of my favorite cooking themed movies came to mind, Pixar’s great Ratatouille. I read somewhere that a good part of Pixar’s staff are veg, and my sister pointed out how a number of their movies seem to subtly reinforce a veg message. So I watched it again, remembering that the climax revolved around a vegetarian French dish from Provence. The only animal foods I saw were the cheese the rats ate, and an occasional omelette. Considering how carnivorous French cuisine can be, it was interesting to watch Remy concoct soups with only plants! Ratatouille is a vegetable stew made from late summer Mediterranean produce such as eggplant, peppers, zucchini, and tomatoes. It can be made in various ways and seasoned differently. Probably every Provencal cook has their own version. The traditional way is as a stove top stew, cooking each vegetable separately, before combining them with seasonings and allowing the flavors to meld a little. It’s easier to cook them together, staggering ingredients like a stir fry. Less traditional, but equally tasty versions call for baking the vegetables, roasting them, or even grilling them. Each method will work, and they will taste slightly different. It is also a versatile dish. You can serve it piping hot when you first make it, warm, or even room temperature. Like many stews, some say it tastes even better the next day. It makes a great topping for pasta. It also makes a great pizza! Ratatouille is one of my favorite ways to use late summer produce. I added chickpeas to make it more substantial, and used it as pasta topping.

Here is How I Did It:

Ingredients:

1/2 onion, halved and sliced thinly
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 zucchini, halved lengthwise and sliced
2 Japanese eggplant, halved lengthwise and sliced
1 can diced tomatoes or diced fresh tomatoes
1 yellow bellpepper, chopped
a handful of green padron peppers, sliced (optional, could also use green pepper)
1 can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 t each: dried basil, thyme, and oregano
small pinch red pepper flakes
a dash of agave (or other sweetener)
a dash of apple cider vinegar
salt and pepper to taste
slivered fresh basil (optional)
a cooked starch to serve it with (I used penne pasta, but polenta, rice or potatoes would also work.)

Start by sautéing the onion and garlic for a few minutes while prepping the other veggies. Add the peppers and eggplant, and cook for a few more minutes. Add the tomatoes and herbs and bring to a simmer. Add zucchini. Cover and cook over medium low until veggies are tender. Add agave and vinegar to balance out the tomatoes. Taste and adjust as needed, including salt and pepper. Top the cooked starch with the stew and garnish with fresh basil if available.

About vegpedlr

Plant powered off-road triathlete
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2 Responses to TV Tuesday: Ratatouille

  1. I haven’t had Ratatouille in ages, your post has renewed an old craving. I have been meaning to see Ratatouille. What the rats aren’t vegan?! Oh cheez balls!

    • vegpedlr says:

      No, sadly the rats aren’t vegan. But as the true scavengers, one could think of them as the original recyclers! Now is the best time of year for ratatouille, with all the ingredients super ripe and fresh in farmer’s markets. Enjoy!

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