Our family is ratatouille-obsessed from kid to dad. For my 4 year-old, Ratatouille is first and foremost a cute rat who, nothing there, cooks in a grand Paris restaurant. He has watched the movie so often that whenever he sees anything resembling the Eiffel Tower, say a church spire or power line tower, he squeals: “Look, Mom, Paris!” When I announce that we’re having ratatouille for supper, he’s delighted—until he realizes, having forgotten since the last time that, you know, ratatouille is actually vegetables.
His dad is different. Eggplant may be one of his best foods and as a result, so is ratatouille. When I asked him to choose recipes from Stefano Faita’s Entre cuisine et quincaillerie, he jumped at the chance to have me test a new version of his favourite vegetable side.
This ratatouille is named after Elena, Stefano’s famous mother and Montreal’s tomato guru. It’s a quick take on the traditional French dish which, a la Julia Child, requires that you cook ingredients one by one, peel the tomatoes, layer vegetables into the final dish that you then warm up. Child also adds garlic and parsley. Here, vegetables are added and cooked one by one but in the same pot. Tomatoes come from a can. And all is ready in 20 minutes or so. And it’s good, very good. The short cooking time means that you really get to taste each individual vegetables, regardless of their shared time in the pot.
I like this ratatouille with roast meat or, even better, roast chicken. Monsieur has been known to savour it with pasta. So, really, whatever floats your boat. In as little as 20 minutes, here’s a truly tasty way to enjoy a healthy dose of vitamins. Oh, our verdict? No surprise there, we loved it.