I’m pretty sure my inspiration to try out this dish was actually the adorable Disney movie. Remy made me want to try it. So I made it for the first time a couple of years ago and my husband and I love it.
It warms you right up with a mix of creamy tomato and béchamel sauces that have a little zing from hot red pepper flakes. The veggies all stacked into one another look pretty elegant too. I always feel fancy when I make this dish.
I’ll admit this ratatouille takes a fair bit of prep work, but it’s all worth it in the end when I see the lovely baked veggies in the bubbling red sauce. I always dig right in. This would totally be a great date night meal if you’re looking to impress your significant other.
This version of ratatouille takes red bell pepper, red potato, zucchini, yellow squash, and eggplant for the base. You have to chop it all up into thin slices. It usually works best if all the veggies are the same size in diameter. But the egg plant is always too big and the red bell pepper is never small enough, so you can work with what you have. Mine comes out looking good and tasting good nonetheless.
Quick note, while you’re chopping up the pepper, zucchini, squash and eggplant, you need to par boil the potatoes. Then slice the potatoes last.
The ratatouille will cook in a mix of tomato sauce with béchamel sauce and spices, so you will need to make the béchamel. The béchamel is just a simple white sauce that is made with flour, butter and milk.
In a saucepan on low heat, you heat up the butter and flour together. Mix it all into one another. While this is happening you need to microwave the milk. The hot milk won’t clump up your butter/flour mixture as easily. When the milk is heated, you slowly pour it in while stirring.
Once everything is in the saucepan, you need to heat it for another 5 minutes or so until it coats the back of you spoon. It will feel slightly thicker. Set this aside.
Assemble and Cook
Now its time to assemble it all into a big, deep, round dish. I use a Le Creuset Braiser that’s 12″ in diameter. First is to put tomato sauce in. Then you add a little fresh thyme, olive oil, salt, red pepper flakes, and finally the béchamel sauce. I gently mix so I can still see a bit of creamy béchamel on top.
Then the fun part begins, stacking all the veggies. You want to take a piece of each vegetable–zucchini, yellow squash, potato, eggplant, and red bell pepper. Then continuously stack with the same pattern.
If it looks like you’re running out of one faster than the rest, don’t add it into the stack as often. I was running out of potatoes so I would stack everything, then the next round I would skip the potato, then the next round I would add the potato again and so on.
Once you have your dish thoroughly packed with veggies, you can sprinkle some more olive oil, salt, thyme and red pepper flakes on top and then throw it in the oven.
Keep an eye on it while it’s in the oven, it cooks for about an hour. If it looks like the veggies are crisping up too much to your liking, you can put a circle of parchment or aluminum foil to prevent them from crisping any further.
- 1 25oz Jar Marinara
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced
- 3-4 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 1/2 Tsp Red Pepper Flakes
- Salt & Pepper
- 1 Eggplant, sliced thin
- 1 Large Yellow Squash, sliced thin
- 1 Large Zucchini, sliced thin
- 1 Red Bell Pepper, sliced thin
- 2-3 Red Potatoes, par boiled, sliced thin
- 1 Tbsp Dairy Free Butter
- 1 Tbsp Flour
- 1 Cup Almond Milk
- Pinch Nutmeg
- Bring a small pot of water to a boil. Slice potatoes in half, then cook in boiling water for 5 minutes. Drain and let cool, then slice thinly. While potatoes are cooling, slice the rest of the vegetables.
- In a large saucepan, combine the butter and flour on low heat for a couple minutes. Microwave milk for 1 to 2 minutes until hot. Slowly pour milk into the butter and flour mixture while stirring to avoid any lumps. Stir mixture on medium-low heat for another 3-5 minutes until it coats the back of your spoon. Add in a pinch of nutmeg, take off heat and set aside.
- Preheat the oven to 375°F. In a large deep round dish, pour in the jar of marinara. Sprinkle in some salt, pepper, red pepper flakes and half the thyme leaves. Drizzle a tablespoon of olive oil. Then pour béchamel sauce in a swirl. Mix it in just a little.
- Add the veggies in layers on their side going in a circle. Do one slice of each veggie and repeat.* Once the dish is filled, drizzle olive oil, remaining thyme, salt and some red pepper flakes. Cook for 55 minutes to 1 hour. If the tops of the veggies are browning too much, put a round of parchment or aluminum foil on top.