Kristin's Quarantine Dinner | Ratatouille
I'm going to start by saying right out the gate that I love pretty dinners...
Not to say that it doesn't have to taste great as well, but any recipe where I can lay out ingredients in a nice pattern and throw whatever veggies I want in? SIGN. ME. UP. Needless to say, when I saw a ratatouille recipe a few years ago whose directions were basically "chop up the veggies in your fridge and cover them in sauce... but in a pretty way" I was in.
Even more important than being easy and fun to look at, ratatouille has been a great recipe to throw together during quarantine. Squash and tomato paste is still pretty easy to come by and you can throw in other veggies like eggplant, onions, etc. which have also been available!
Here's what I did for my recipe this time, although it seems to change with every mood I'm in!
Prep time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 1 hour
What you'll need:
- 2 yellow squashes, chopped into thin rounds
- 2 zucchinis, chopped into thin rounds
- 1/2 onion, chopped into small pieces
- 1 red bell pepper, chopped into small pieces
- 1 can tomato paste + any leftover marinara sauce you may have on hand if you like things really saucy, which... who doesn't?
- 3 fresh cloves of garlic, chopped OR garlic powder
- salt and pepper to taste
- crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- a sprig of fresh oregano or thyme (optional)
- Garlic Bread for serving (optional)
What to do:
- Preheat your oven! I'm using a whole step for this because I ALWAYS forget and hate waiting once I've finished assembling, so go do that... I'll wait...
- Spread about 1/3 of your can of tomato paste on the bottom of a small baking dish. Cover that with a little marinara if you chose to add that in. Then, sprinkle 1/3 of your onion, bell pepper, garlic, crushed red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper on top of that.
- Layer the yellow squash and zucchini rounds on top of your sauce layer. You can lay these out however you want, but I tend to alternate colors around the edge and work my way into the center of the dish. These first few layers won't show, but it's still fun to play with the colors!
- Keep on keeping on! Repeat steps 2 and 3 until you have 3 layers or you run out of ingredients! Sometimes I have 4 layers depending on the size of squashes available.
- Place your sprig of oregano or thyme on top and take a second to appreciate your masterpiece because it will not look as perfect once it comes out of the oven... but, good news, it will still taste amazing!
- Put your dish into the oven and cover with a sheet of foil. Bake for 1 hour and serve with garlic bread! I like to let this dish sit for a few minutes once removing so it has time to stick together while cooling.
And you're good to go! I hope you have as much fun making this dish as I do and that you are able to get creative with it - Let us know if you tried it out in the comments OR share your favorite quarantine recipe... we'd love to try yours out too!
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