Last night I had a headache, and didn't want to go to the store to buy anything to make dinner, so I googled some of the ingredients I had, and found that I had all the makings for ratatouille.
I've never had ratatouille before. I didn't know how it was supposed to taste. All I knew about it was from the animated movie.
I used the following recipe, one I got from here:
Most of the ingredients I got from the garden: eggplant, zucchini, yellow summer squash, onions, tomatoes, the herbs.
I did make changes so I could use what I had on hand. I used some tomatoes I had canned as salsa, but had turned out too sweet and mild to be salsa. The spices in the tomatoes were basil, onions, and some mild peppers. Being lazy, I didn't peel the eggplant, and I didn't have and Italian spice blend, so I put in rosemary and summer savory from the garden along with the salt and pepper. I also added some leftover chopped turkey breast meat. Other than those substitutions, I just followed the directions.
The scent as it cooked was complex and wonderful. I never would have imagined that such simple ingredients could smell so good!
I wasn't sure when it was finished, so after an hour we just ate it. I had made a simple quinoa pilaf (quinoa cooked in chicken broth with chives) to serve with it. We ate nearly all of it, but the leftovers I heated up for breakfast. It was even better!
I have been reading up on the dish, and have found that there are as many variations on it as there are cooks. The veggies can be sautéed separately and then baked as a layered casserole, or it can be more of a stew, like the recipe I used. Some people drain the liquid and use it as a filling for crepes or omelettes. The ratatouille in the movie, Ratatouille, was actually a confit byaldi from chef Thomas Keller, where the tomato sauce and spices are spread on a sheet pan and the veggies are sliced thin, fanned out, and roasted on top.