I have always been fascinated by the idea of making a Ratatouille dish by myself. Ever since watching the Pixar movie, when the food critic tastes the one made by the rat. That one bite completely strips him of his mannerisms and bad attitude, taking his conscience back to that of a little innocent child.
I don't pretend to be able to concoct a dish like that. I just like colorful dishes that photograph well and taste good :). That's why I was caught in the illusion that is Instagram and the conception that Ratatouille has to be a symmetrical dish.
Just look at this recipe and how perfect and symmetric it is:
If you think this is easy to make, think again. Because I thought so too and realized it isn't halfway through making it. "Why", you ask. Just wait for it.
Now would be the perfect time to describe the ingredients of a classic Ratatouille:
3 large red onions
2 medium zucchini
5 large tomatoes
2 medium yellow squash
2 medium eggplants
1 can crushed tomatoes
as much garlic as you want
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
salt and pepper to season
Now if you look at the list of vegetables with a naked eye, you won't suspect a thing. The next step is to cut all of them into thin circles. Even then you might think everything is fine. And it looks great on the cutting board.
Dice the garlic and cook it in a pan on low heat with olive oil. Add crushed tomatoes and combine. Keep cooking, stirring occasionally, until the garlic is cooked. Season with balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. Transfer into a rectangular oven-safe baking dish. The sauce should cover the bottom of the dish.
Now it's time to arrange the sliced vegetables in a colorful pattern. That's where the big realization strikes: the vegetable circles are not the same size!!! I've been screwed by a photogenic recipe that amassed tons of likes on Instagram but is virtually impractical to make. In reality there is no way to make a dish that looks like the one in the link above with the amount of ingredients they tell you to buy. Because onion, tomato, zucchini, yellow squash and eggplant are all vegetables of different diameters, no matter how much you try to match them. So my guess is they got much more than 2-3 of each vegetable and then tossed a lot of those circles aside, just to make the dish symmetrical.
But does it stop me from making my Ratatouille? Hell NO! I proceed with what I have and I arrange them in patterns until the dish is completely full and there is no place to squeeze another tiny circle. Sprinkle on top with some salt and pepper.
Cover it with tin foil and bake for 2 hours at 150 C / 300 F. After 2 hours remove the foil and switch the mode to grill for another 10-15 minutes, to brown the top of the veggies.
Now does it look like the one in the pretty recipe? Not even close. But does it taste spectacular? You bet your sweet ass it does! And I'm not even sorry for uploading it. The world should know that asymmetric ratatouille exists and it's just as tasty.