If you've never seen Pixar's "Ratatouille", go rent it now! Remy, the main character, is a French rat who loves cooking but is always thrown out of the kitchen when he is discovered because he is a rat. I'd have done the same (sorry Remy) because unfortunately, real rats are not nearly as adorable or as talented as Remy.
Remy's specialty dish is Ratatouille (get it? RAT-a-touille ha ha ha); he and his other chef rat friends whip together a dish of fanned out veggies that made everyone in the audience excited about vegetables. I left the movie wondering why I had never had this magical dish and how soon would I be able to get it. After a little research (aka asking my mom), I learned real ratatouille is a traditional French stewed vegetable dish where each vegetable is cooked in it's own pot and it takes hours and hours. I was disappointed until my mom found a recipe for Ratatouille's Ratatouille on the Smitten Kitchen website. It was every bit as good as I had hoped!
When Smitten Kitchen released her cookbook last year she had an updated recipe for the ratatouille and it was a ratatouille sub. I decided to give it a try because I am always in search of a good vegetable sandwich, one that leaves you satisfied and not thinking "that would have been better with chicken". I am happy to say that this sandwich is perfect! When served warm, the goat cheese melts into the tomato sauce creating a whole other level of amazing.
One year ago: Sweet Chili Baby Back Ribs, Hamachi Shots
Two years ago: Caity's Favorite Dinner - Chicken Parmesan, Tres Leches Cake
Serves 4 people as a main, or 6 with a side dish
what you'll need:
1 long, thin eggplant (like a Japanese eggplant)
1 long, thin zucchini
1 long, thin yellow squash
1 to 2 red bell peppers (the skinniest tallest ones you can find!)
1/2 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
1 cup tomato puree
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 Tbsp olive oil
Red pepper flakes
1/2 Tbsp fresh thyme
2 French baguettes
6 oz soft goat cheese
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Wash and dry the vegetables. Trim the ends of the eggplant, zucchini and squash. Using a mandolin (the slicey thing below), or a very sharp knife, slice into pieces about 1/16 inch thick. Cut the top off and bottom off the red bell pepper and carefully remove the core, leaving the flesh intact in a sort of tube.
Thinly slice the pepper too.
Spread the tomato puree into a 2-quart baking dish (mine has mysteriously disappeared so I used my smaller Le Creuset French oven and that worked out fine). Stir in the onion slices, minced garlic, 1 Tbsp olive oil, a few pinches of kosher salt and a pinch of red pepper flakes.
Arrange alternating slices of the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper so that they overlap with just a bit visible of the flat surface visible. The red bell pepper is the problem child because it is usually bigger than the other pieces. I cut some pieces to size and left other ones hanging out.
Continue until you have filled your entire baking dish. You might not need all of your vegetables.
Drizzle with 1 Tbsp olive oil and sprinkle with the fresh thyme.
Cover with parchment paper or foil and bake for 45 minutes until the vegetables are fork tender.
Meanwhile, split the baguette in half. Once the 45 minutes are up, remove the parchment paper or foil from the ratatouille and place the baguette on a pan on a separate rack to toast for maybe 5 minutes.
Spread the goat cheese over the top piece of the warm, toasty baguette. As best you can, slide a wide knife or other utensil under the ratatouille and slide it onto the bottom piece of the bread. Keep adding sections until you have covered the bread.
Scoop up any tomato sauce that was left beneath the veggies and spoon it over the sandwich. Close each sandwich, cut into manageable pieces and serve immediately.