Many Ratatouilles are cooked on the stove and are simliar to a stew. Here is my take on it. This is a baked dish which ends up tasting like pizza. It makes a huge dish and honestly, the WHOLE casserole only has 800-1000 calories, has only vegetable complex carbs (no bread carbs). It is easy to make, but you have to plan ahead. I try to make this in the morning and then let it set most of the day at room temp, covered before baking it in the oven. One of the most important things is to get EVERYTHING sliced up BEFORE you begin. You could slice up the veggies the night before (the one exception being the EGGPLANT) and make the tomato mixture. There are at LEAST 10 servings here. That would make each serving around 80 – 100 calories of pure nutrition and wonderful flavor.
(1) 28 oz can of petite diced tomatoes, drained (don’t discard the tomato juice–use it in a soup!)
Dried herbs: oregano, basil, parsley, onion, granulated garlic
Sea salt and Freshly Ground coarse black pepper (1/2 teaspoon of each)
1 cup grated parmesan (refrigerated in the bag kind)
3 tablespoons ground parmesan (the kind in the plastic jar)
1 cup shredded mozzarella/cheddar blend)
2 small or 1 large yellow summer squash, sliced thin
1 medium zucchini, sliced thin
8-10 large white mushrooms, sliced thin (trim hard end of stem off)
1 large or 2 small red onions, sliced into rings and then halved into ‘half-moons’
1 green bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 average sized eggplant, chopped into cubes)
1 small can sliced black olives, drained
20 small green pimento stuffed green olives
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Prepare the eggplant by placing in a colander and salting each layer. Allow the salted eggplant to sit for at least 30 minutes. Rinse thoroughly and drain.
Meanwhile, prepare the tomato mixture. Combine the tomato, herbs, minced garlic, sea salt, ground pepper and ground parmesan. Stir well. Set aside. When the eggplant is ready (has been salted, set, rinsed and patted dry), coat a non-stick skillet with non-stick spray and add one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil and turn on high, When the oil is hot, add the eggplant and saute (turning frequently) with a spatula. Lower heat after one minute to medium-medium high heat and continue to toss and saute. Press down on the eggplant cubes with the spatula to release water within them. Do this for around eight-ten minutes. Then add 2-3 tablespoons minced garlic and continue to saute. Be careful to not let the garlic burn. After two minutes, turn off the heat and transfer the eggplant and garlic to a large glass casserole dish that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Spread evenly across the bottom. Combine your two shredded cheeses together. Then begin layering.
You can do this in any order you choose, saving the tomato and green olives for last, and a little cheese. I usually layer this way: eggplant, zucchini, a dusting of cheese, yellow squash, a dusting of cheese, mushrooms and black olives, a dusting of cheese, pepper and onion slices, and a dusting of cheese. I then pour the tomato mixture across the top, covering the other veggies, and I place the green olives around the top of the tomato mixture and finish up with whatever cheese is remaining. At this point, you can bake the casserole or you can cover it for later. There is no need to refrigerate it unless you plan to use it another day. Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for about 45 minutes, covered with aluminum foil until all veggies are cooked and everything is hot and bubbly. It could take an hour, but I find it will take around 45 minutes if it has not been refrigerated. Remove from oven and let sit for about five – ten minutes. Serve. There is a lot of quantity in this dish.
I like to serve this with a simple green salad, since there are so many vegetables in the ratatouille. My favorite to go with this dish would be a simple Caesar salad mix (I would discard those white breaded croutons) or my spinach and mushroom salad with lemon vinaigrette. That recipe will be coming soon. You will probably have leftovers. My husband packs them in his lunch, iced down and for him it is like a salad. I like to heat them up and make a veggie melt. You can also puree the leftovers in a blender with a little of that leftover juice from the tomatoes: it will make a yummy refrigerated healthy dip for some homemade pita chips!
REMEMBER, CHOP AND SLICE THOSE VEGGIES FIRST! It makes preparing this dish so much easier!!