October 11, 2008

easy ratatouille

The movie is so cute and has now become a classic. I still enjoy watching it to this day. I finally tried to cook ratatouille, the easy way. Unlike the movie's thinly sliced, layered and baked ratatouille (Chef Thomas Keller's creation) which transported the movie's famed critic Anton Ego back to his childhood, this version I found online was just as rustic and classic. I think it will also pass Remy's cooking standards and taste level : ) The traditional fresh veggies used in ratatouille include eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, onions and tomatoes. I omitted the eggplant and just used sliced zucchini, squash, onions and tomatoes. Chopped onions and minced garlic were cooked first in a skillet followed by some coarsely chopped tomatoes. Then the sliced vegetables were added next. Simmer for a few minutes until all the vegetables are cooked, but not overcooked, then sprinkle chopped fresh parsley before serving. The result was a flavorful vegetable dish, a bit saucy and not dry. It's important to have all the ingredients fresh for a simple dish like this for the flavor to really stand out. Somehow, ratatouille reminds me of pinakbet, which is also a classic and rustic dish we often cook in the Philippines. We use locally grown fresh vegetables like kalabasa or local squash, sitaw or long green beans and ampalaya or bitter gourd. The vegetable mix is cooked with garlic, onions and tomatoes as well. Pork, shrimps and shrimp paste may also be added but it may also be vegetarian. The pinakbet is a traditional vegetable dish from the Ilocos region, north of Manila.

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