There is no precise recipe or technique when it comes to preparing that classic French dish, Ratatouille. What comes to mind is that cute little rat named Remy (in the popular 2007 Pixar movie) stirring up a delicious concoction to impress the local food critic.
According to the New York Times Cooking article titled, How to Make Ratatouille…
“The most traditional recipes call for cooking each vegetable separately in a pot on the stove until well browned, layering everything back into the pot with a generous amount of olive oil and some tomatoes, and then letting it all slowly stew. Most cooks agree that this is the best way to ensure that the vegetables are cooked to perfection before all are combined, and the flavors left to meld.
However, all that standing at the stove stirring vegetables can become tedious. Even “Larousse Gastronomique” discards that method in its official recipe, throwing everything into the same pan in stages without the benefit of that individual browning.”
For this recipe, let’s maximize the flavor of each ingredient by first roasting them. Depending on what you decide to include in your version, one or two ingredients may need to be blanched prior to roasting.
Set up a small saucepan or pot with lightly salted water. Bring it to a boil and add the prepared vegetables. After five minutes, remove the blanched beans with a slotted spoon and immediately immerse them in a waiting bowl of ice water. Once they are cooled (almost immediately) transfer them to several layers of paper toweling to drain and dry. Of course, the timing will depend on how ‘al dente’ you like your veggies.
The vegetables should be cut into uniform bite-size pieces to ensure that they are evenly roasted. Instead of mixing them, place each in its own grouping on the tray. That way if one or more veggie is done before the others, you can easily remove them while the others finish roasting.
Brush the surface of the vegetables generously with the olive oil. Season evenly with the salt & pepper and place the herb sprigs here and there. After hangin’ out in a hot oven for about fifteen minutes, the full flavor of each vegetable will be enhanced. You’ll love the aroma coming from your kitchen.
Melt a small amount of butter in an ovenproof skillet or baking dish. Add the roasted vegetables and some of the cheese. Stir to combine.
Can we take a moment here to talk about making this your own recipe? What I have outlined for you is a mere suggestion. A guideline which includes details on how to end up with a finished dish. Literally, any vegetable can be used. For example, asparagus, cauliflower, eggplant, and carrots are just a few that aren’t included in this presentation. Just keep roasting times in mind as you choose and prep them. And remember that a few varieties may need to be blanched before roasting. Roasted garlic would be an excellent addition. How about adding a handful of canned chickpeas to the roasting tray.
If you want even more flavor, add your favorite chopped fresh herbs. Such as thyme, rosemary, tarragon, etc. I think you get the idea. Customize this one and claim it as yours!
All of this goodness is ready to bake in the oven until it’s all creamy and delicious.
You can call it perfection right here. Just bring out the crusty bread or hearty chips. Or…
For some extra cheesiness, add a light sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan. Place the skillet under the broiler for just a minute. Over-the-top cheesy perfection. Bring on the naan, crusty bread or hearty chips. This dip is naturally gluten-free and low-carb. By choosing the appropriate dippers, those folks on a restricted diet can enjoy their share of the goodness.
cheesy roasted ratatouille dip
Make this your own by choosing your favorite vegetables and herbs. For the best consistency, be sure to use 2 1/2 to 3 pounds of combined vegetables.
- 5 ounces blanched fresh green beans (directions in post) (1 cup)
- 8 ounces plum tomatoes (3 small)
- 6 ounces vidalia onion (1 medium)
- 8 ounces button mushrooms, trimmed (8 medium)
- 6 ounces orange sweet pepper, seeds & membranes removed (1 medium)
- 6 ounces broccoli florets (3 cups)
- 5 ounces zucchini (1 small)
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons coarse kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 8 sprigs fresh oregano
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 8 ounces shredded Monterey Jack cheese
- 2 ounces freshly grated parmesan cheese, divided
Preheat oven to 400°F. Line 2 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.
Prepare vegetables by cutting into uniform bite-size pieces. Place in a single layer in groupings on prepared trays. Brush the surface of all pieces with the olive oil. Season with the salt & pepper. Place the oregano sprigs over each type of vegetable.
Roast in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes until tender and slightly charred, rotating pans halfway through. Check often for charring. If one of the vegetables is finished before the others, remove it from the tray and allow the remaining veggies to finish roasting.
Melt the butter in an ovenproof skillet or baking dish. Add the roasted vegetables along with the Monterey Jack cheese and 1 ounce of the parmesan cheese. Stir to combine.
Place the skillet in the oven. Bake for 15 minutes until the cheese is fully melted and bubbling around the edges.
If additional cheesiness is desired, sprinkle the remaining 1 ounce of parmesan cheese over the top. Place the skillet under the broiler for just one minute until toasty.
Serve immediately with naan, crusty bread or hearty chips.
For Low-Carb - Serve dip with sliced raw zucchini, carrot sticks and/or other low-carb dippers.