Here's how my brain works in almost all things: I dream up a bunch of seemingly disjointed, random things that I want all at the same time. That's step one. Then I try to find a way in which these things can all coexist. Step two, which takes considerably longer than step one and usually involves random Internet searches like "bar cart, vintage, Mad Men, pink, Brimfield MA, vodka." It's an interesting process. When I find something that satisfies all of the things I want, all that's left is naming and/or synthesizing whatever it is into some coherent thing. Sometimes it's a painting, sometimes it's a Pinterest home decor hybrid, and sometimes, like this time, it's a recipe.
That's why this should be called "Ratatouille, Kind Of." I wanted vegetables and I wanted them baked. I searched "vegetable bake" and Ratatouille kept coming up. I immediately thought of that beautiful (animated) ratatouille dish from the movie Ratatouille, which reminded me of Deb's version of the animated dish over on Smitten Kitchen. Except that my brain works backwards and I had already bought groceries for this "eggplant squash onion tomato baked" concoction I wanted.
So, anyway, I'm calling this Ratatouille, even though it might not be. You can call it "vegetable bake" if it pleases you, however I'm going to call it Ratatouille because I like to say it. Ratatouille!
Let's make Ratatouille!
The most difficult part of this entire dish is slicing all the vegetables, and that's not all that difficult! Slice tomatoes and lay them down on the bottom of a prepared baking dish, or in my case (because I can't for the life of me find my casserole dish. How does one lose that?!) a cast iron skillet.
Drizzle some olive oil over the top and season with salt and pepper, then add some sliced onions and minced garlic.
Next goes very thinly sliced eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash, in a pattern. Make it as pretty as you can! Then sprinkle with crumbled feta cheese and a little bit of Parmesan cheese, then season with salt, pepper, a pinch of red pepper flakes, and some dried thyme (you can use fresh if you are more prepared than me!).
Bake for about 45-50 minutes in a 375 degree oven until all the vegetables are tender and the cheese is melted.
Serve with your carbohydrate of choice if you are making a meal out of it, or simply as is for a delicious and flavorful side!
Me, I ate mine as is, with a hunk of crusty, warm, garlic bread.
It was both comforting and fresh tasting, and although you probably don't want to turn your oven on right now, this really is a great summer dish.
Here's the recipe!
Ratatouille (heavily adapted from Smitten Kitchen)
- 2 tomatoes, sliced thin
- 1 onion, sliced thin
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 eggplant, sliced into thin rounds
- 1 zucchini, sliced thin
- 1 yellow squash, sliced thin
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil
- salt and pepper
- red pepper flakes
- Pinch of dried thyme (more if using fresh)
- 1/4 cup feta cheese
- Grated Parmesan cheese
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Prepare a baking dish and spread tomatoes over the bottom. Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Top with onions and garlic.
- Arrange squash, eggplant, and zucchini in a pattern in concentric circles over the tomatoes and onions until all of the space is covered. You may have some left over.
- Season again with salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and dried thyme. Sprinkle feta cheese and Parmesan over the top.
- Bake in the oven for 45-50 minutes until the vegetables are tender and the tomatoes have released their juices and created a sauce on the bottom. Serve with crusty bread or whatever carb you choose!