It’s not often that I thank film makers for including a great health message for kids (and adults) in their films, but this time I must. Last week we took our 12 year old son to see Ratatouille. We expected it to be a delightful family film and it was. We all thoroughly enjoyed it. The next day my wife decided to serve something for lunch that was not on our son’s normal menu of favorite foods. While our son was helping with lunch preparations he showed unusual interest in learning new cooking skills and even though he didn’t normally eat the dish we were having for lunch, he suggested some additional ingredients that he thought would make it better (and they did). We sat down together, said our family’s traditional thanks for the food, and began our meal. After the first bite, our son closed his eyes and exclaimed, “A symphony of flavor!” So, thank you Pixar for proclaiming that “Anyone can cook!”, for showing amazing freshly prepared foods that included vegetables, and for making it exciting for kids to try new foods. Two enthusiastic spoons ups from this reviewer!!!
Ratatouille — As seen in the movie
Traditional Ratatouille is a stew-like vegetable dish. By skewering the vegetables during cooking, you keep them in decorative order and easily arrange them on serving plates and garnish to look like the elegant dish served in the Pixar movie, Ratatouille.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cloves garlic, crushed and minced
- 1 large onion, quartered and thinly sliced
- 2 green bell peppers, coarsely chopped
- 8 Roma tomatoes, 4 coarsely chopped and 4 thinly sliced
- 2 small eggplant (about the same diameter as the zucchini), thinly sliced
- 3 to 4 small yellow squash, thinly sliced
- 3 to 4 small zucchini, thinly sliced
- 1/4 cup fresh basil, coarsely chopped (or 1 teaspoon dried basil)
- 1/8 cup fresh oregano, coarsely chopped (or 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano)
- 1/8 cup fresh thyme, coarsely chopped (or 1/4 teaspoon dried leaf thyme)
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
In a 4-quart Dutch oven or saucepan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and onions and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 6 to 7 minutes. Add peppers; stir to combine. Add chopped tomatoes and herbs; mix well. Arrange eggplant, zucchini, squash, and sliced tomatoes on skewers in alternating layers. Place skewers in a baking dish and cover with sauce. Cook the mixture in a 325 degree oven for about 35 minutes, or until vegetables are tender, but not too soft. Remove skewers from pan and carefully pull skewer from vegetables so they remain in order. Arrange in a colorful pattern on the plate, top with sauce and a sprig of fresh basil. Bon appetite!