This is a guest post by Janel Ovrut
A Mandoline to make Ratatouille
A few months ago I picked up a great gadget at our local Marshall’s discount store: a mandoline. I originally put one of these on our wedding registry, but couldn’t wait another year to receive it, and couldn’t pass by the amazing price tag of $9.99! Mandolines cut veggies into perfectly thin and even rounds, matchsticks, slices and discs. And they’re a huge time saver too! It usually takes me forever to thinly slice carrots and potatoes, especially with my dull set of knives, but with the mandoline I’m done in seconds.
I really wanted to give my mandoline a run for its money and set out to make this stunning looking ratatouille recipe I found on Smitten Kitchen with some eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash I had just picked up from a local farm stand.
Ratatouille adapted from Smitten Kitchen
1 onion, finely sliced using mandoline
1 cup tomato puree (such as Pomi)
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 small eggplant
1 yellow squash
1 red bell pepper
Few sprigs fresh thyme or dried thyme
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Pour tomato puree into bottom of a square baking dish, approximately 10 inches across the long way. Drop the sliced onion into the sauce, stir in one tablespoon of the olive oil and season the sauce generously with salt and pepper.
Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash. Trim the ends off the red pepper and remove the core, leaving the edges intact, like a tube.
On a mandoline, cut the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red pepper into very thin slices, approximately 1/16-inch thick. My mandoline came with a setting called “very thin.”
On top of the tomato sauce, arrange slices of prepared vegetables concentrically from the outer edge to the inside of the baking dish, overlapping and alternating vegetables. I had enough slices for a few layers of vegetables, and seasoned with salt and pepper on a few layers as I kept adding more.
Drizzle the remaining tablespoon olive oil over the vegetables and season them generously with salt and pepper. Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs with your fingertips, running them down the stem. Sprinkle the fresh (or dried) thyme over the dish.
Cover dish with a piece of parchment paper cut to fit inside.
Bake for approximately 45 to 55 minutes, until vegetables have released their liquid and are clearly cooked, but with some structure left so they are not totally limp. They should not be brown at the edges, and you should see that the tomato sauce is bubbling up around them.
We enjoyed our ratatouille over a plate of brown rice and couldn’t stop commenting about how tasty this dish was, how perfectly the vegetables were cooked, and how well the flavors from fresh vegetables and simple seasonings came together. Thanks to my new mandoline and this great recipe from Smitten Kitchen, I now know I can make a perfect plate of ratatouille every time.
Janel Ovrut is a Boston-based Registered Dietitian who enjoys helping others make healthy changes, one bite at a time. You can follow Janel’s blog, Eat Well with Janel here, become an Eat Well with Janel fan, and follow her food and nutrition tweets on Twitter.