Recipe provided by Fresno Heart & Surgical Hospital Sous Chef Daniel Thomas
This simple and delicious meal originates from the Provence area of France and is a simple mix of seasonal vegetables, garlic and olive oil. The olive oil is an essential part of the ratatouille as it enhances the dish’s flavor. This is one of the most common French dishes around and, once you’ve perfected it, is always a delicious addition to any dinner party. And the best part? It’s healthy and safe for our bariatric patients as well.
Most of the ingredients below are noted as “sliced.” I’d recommend using a mandoline slicer but if you don’t have one available in your kitchen, you can chop each of your vegetables into thin slices as well.
Remember - it doesn’t have to be perfect to be delicious!
1 Italian eggplant, sliced
2 Roma tomatoes, sliced
2 bell peppers (any color), seeded and sliced
2 large zucchini, sliced
2 squash, sliced
3 red potatoes, sliced
6 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 head of garlic, cloves smashed, peeled and minced
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 small red onions, diced (for your sauce)
2-3 tablespoons of red wine vinegar
1 bay leaf
¼ cup of fresh oregano leaves
¼ cup of rosemary, minced
¼ cup of flour (for your béchamel)
¼ cup of butter (for your béchamel)
1 cup of milk (for béchamel)
¼ cup white wine (for béchamel)
6 Roma tomatoes (for your sauce)
¼ cup of parmesan cheese
¼ cup of parsley
Put 2 cups of water in a pot and bring to a boil. Place a strainer in the pot and have it ready on the side. Slice all your vegetable (with mandoline slicer or by hand), and mince and chop the onion and garlic and herbs.
Slice your red potatoes and blanch for two minutes in boiling water. Place potatoes in a bowl of ice water to shock them cold.
With the boiling water, add the 6 Roma tomatoes to boil. After two minutes, peel the skin off and pour the water out. In the same pot, add ¼ tablespoon of olive oil and sauté 1 tablespoon onion and garlic. Then, add the tomatoes back in the pot after the onions become translucent. Deglaze with red wine and bring to a boil to burn off the alcohol. Puree everything together. Sprinkle a pinch of thyme and rosemary to the sauce and salt and pepper to taste. Set the sauce to the side.
In a separate pot, melt down the butter and add the flour. On a low heat, stir for about 4 minutes, or until the room smells like sugar cookies. You may need to stir longer depending on the pot and the heat conductor of your stove. Wait until you smell the sugar cookies! Once done, add the wine in and stir for 1 minute and then add your milk. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste. If it’s too thick, then add more milk and season accordingly. Set pot to the side.
Get a baking pan and spray with and oil-based pan spray. Add the tomato sauce to the bottom of your pan. Coat the pan and don’t fill it in all the way if the tomatoes were big and you yielded more sauce. Then, add a 1/4 cup of the béchamel as well. Swish this around until the pan is a pinkish thick color and consistency.
Shingle the eggplant, zucchini, squash, red potato and the other two Roma tomatoes through the pan to form a spiral cylinder. Drizzle the remaining tomato sauce over the vegetables and drizzle a light coat of the béchamel sauce as well. Sprinkle a pinch of sale and then a pinch of pepper on the vegetables and then sprinkle the herbs. Cover the dish with parchment paper and put in a 350-degree oven for about 40 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked (a convection oven only takes about 20 minutes). Pull your pan out.
If you are plating your dish, then scoop a portion out, keeping the spiral vegetables in shape. On a plate, scoop some of the tomato sauce on the middle of the plate, and then a little bit of the left over béchamel sauce if there is any left. For garnish, use flat leaf parsley and sprinkle with a pinch of parmesan cheese.