In the movie "Ratatouille" Remy makes the food critic Anton Ego a dish of ratatouille which quickly takes him back via taste memory to when he was a little boy, hurt himself and his mommy made him warm soothing vegetable stew. For me, the first time I had the dish was in Paris while staying at the Foyer la Vigie. The dinners we were served were always a bit questionable and sometimes just inedible, but we had enough to eat and got to see some French cuisine a la cafeteria. The ratatouille was just fine though! Remy's always looks so delicious and chic that I knew I would have to make it myself someday. Tonight I set out with zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, and red peppers in tow to make my first! There are a couple ways to make ratatouille. Most of them are just stewed stove-top which makes it a very easy dish for anyone to make. I consulted a couple recipes before deciding how to make it. I wanted to make a version that would turn out as decadent looking as Remy's and I found someone who claimed to be giving the "official" movie recipe online but it was far too involved and time consuming so I opted for a rustic stew version from Judith Jones' The Pleasures of Cooking for One. Mirelle Guillano's (the author of French Women Don't Get Fat) was a stove-top version, that used sliced vegetables instead of chunks. Her's said the vegetables had to cook for 2 hours compared to Jones' which took me about 40 minutes to make. The dish is very easy and enjoyable to make with superbly satisfying results!
The stew is very rich and quite delicious on its own. Best served with a chunk of fresh French bread with a bit of butter. I made enough for about three single servings so I froze two servings in sandwich bags. One serving I enjoyed with my friend Jocelin with herbes de provence roasted chicken breast and rice (since split in two would not be enough). The rice is definitely a goo choice to serve the stew over (and how I was served it at La Vigie). The third serving I enjoyed tonight with just a cut-up hot dog-- my way of celebrating the Yankees home opener!!
All in all ratatouille is delicious, easy to make, wonderful to enjoy, and great to share. Definitely going to be one I will make over and over again and perfect to my liking over the years.