August 10th, 2015
From "Sheet Pan Suppers" by Molly Gilbert
Depending on whom you ask, ratatouille is an animated film starring a culinarily-inclined rat named Remy or a traditional French dish of stewed summer vegetables. Either way, it’s highly enjoyable.
This version uses all of the usual vegetable suspects, but I’ve added sliced potatoes to the mix, which helps to heft it up. A smattering of soft goat cheese adds even more flavor and texture.
Excerpted from Sheet Pan Suppers by Molly Gilbert (Workman Publishing). Copyright © 2014.
Preheat the oven to 375°F with one rack about 4 inches from the broiler and another rack in the center position. Mist a sheet pan with cooking spray.
Dump the tomato puree onto the prepared sheet pan. Add the garlic, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and toss together to combine. Use a rubber spatula to spread the puree evenly over the pan, distributing the garlic and onion throughout and pushing the sauce into the corners of the pan. Drop the butter cubes over all, spacing them evenly apart.
Cut off the top of the pepper, and carefully pull out the seeds and membrane. Use a sharp knife to slice the pepper into 1⁄8- to 1/4-inch-thick rounds, then slice the rounds into thirds—you’ll end up with a bunch of small curved pepper pieces.
Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini, and squash. Slice each into thin rounds, 1⁄8- to 1/4-inch thick. Slice the potatoes into rounds of the same thickness.
Carefully arrange the vegetables over the tomato sauce and butter, overlapping them in a deliberate pattern going from short end to short end of the pan. You’ll be able to see a bit of tomato sauce at the sides of the pan, but the vegetable layer should be tight enough that you don’t see much.
Drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil, sprinkle with the thyme and an extra pinch each of salt and pepper. Bake the ratatouille on the center rack until the vegetables are tender and the tomato sauce is bubbling up at the edges, 30 to 40 minutes.
Remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven to broil. Break the goat cheese into large crumbles and scatter them evenly over the ratatouille. Broil to gently melt the cheese, about 1 minute.
Sprinkle the chopped basil on top of the ratatouille and serve warm with plenty of crusty bread for scooping up the vegetables and sauce.