Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: About 2 hours and 30 minutes
Today’s comforting recipe is an ode to those late summer vegetables, the beginning of Fall, and the late Julia Child. I present to you, my version of Ratatouille, a swirly-twirly layered dish of fresh vegetables in a rich piperade (fancy for tomatoes, peppers, and onions), and fragrantly seasoned with thyme, garlic, parsley, Cherchies® Basil Pizzazz, and Cherchies® Garlic Seasoning. Not only is this dish impressive in presentation, but the vibrant colors are also entirely reminiscent of Fall.
Typically, this savory French stew uses tomatoes, peppers, zucchini, eggplant, onions, garlic, and herbs and is simmered on the stove. This dish lends to creativity in the kitchen, so taking my inspiration from Julia Child, (who layered the vegetables in a savory sauce and baked in the oven), I created this family-friendly version, (sans the eggplant...kiddos and hubby are not fans), and alternated the vegetables into a decorative spiral and baked in the oven.
Do not be intimidated by what seems to be endless mounds of slicing. This flavorful dish is quite easy, especially if you have a mandolin or a food processor (one of my favorite kitchen appliances ever!). Use vegetables that are similar in size and feel free to substitute for your liking. As I mentioned, I removed the eggplant and added in thinly sliced sweet potatoes and yellow squash.
The result is a fragrantly delicious vegetable casserole that will please even the most discerning guests. It is comfort in a pan. Serve this easy dish alongside your favorite meat or fish recipes and crusty bread to sop up all the wonderfully tasty juices. Or, nix the meat entirely for a fabulous Meatless Monday meal.
Comment below on how you liked this dish and any substitutions you made! Thank you for stopping by. Come back again !
Sauce (piperade) ingredients- (“Piperade” is fancy for onions, peppers, and tomatoes)
2 Tablespoons (Tbsp) good olive oil
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
1/2 red pepper, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
1/2 green pepper, seeds and ribs removed, chopped
3-4 medium tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) tomato paste
1 teaspoon (tsp) salt
2 sprigs fresh thyme, stems removed and chopped
2 sprigs fresh chopped parsley
1 Tablespoon (Tbsp) Cherchies® Basil Pizzazz Seasoning
1 bay leaf
3/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Filling Ingredients (You will want the veggies in this dish to be similar in size, as it makes for a pretty presentation and the cook time will be similar)
2 small sweet potatoes, washed, peeled and thinly sliced* (you can leave the skins on if prefer. Make sure to wash thoroughly.)
1 medium or 2 small yellow squash (pick ones that are similar in size), washed and thinly sliced*
1 zucchini, washed and thinly sliced*
3 or 4 medium tomatoes, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon (tsp) Cherchies® Garlic Seasoning
1/2 teaspoon (tsp) ground pepper
Heat oven to 275 degrees. Chop onions, peppers, and tomatoes (reserving juices) before cooking. (May want to put the tomatoes into a bowl with the juices, so as to cut down on the mess.)
Combine oil and chopped onions in a medium skillet and cook over low heat and cook until onions are translucent.
Add peppers, garlic, and tomatoes and juice. Stir and simmer until peppers are soft. Add salt, tomato paste, thyme, parsley, Cherchies® Basil Pizzazz, and bay leaf to the skillet. Simmer on low for 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat when finished. Add the cheese, stir, and set aside to cool.
While the piperade (sauce) simmers, prepare the filling. Using a food processor, a mandolin, or sharp knife, slice the squash, zucchini, and sweet potato. The tomatoes didn’t slice well in my food processor, so I sliced them thinly with a sharp knife. You could use a mandolin for the tomatoes if you prefer. Place sweet potatoes in a bowl of cold water and set the rest of the vegetables aside.
After the sauce has cooled, pour into a blender and puree until desired consistency. If the liquid is still hot, make sure to cover with a towel so the blender does not explode from the hot liquids. (If you have a Blentec blender (or a blender that can can handle hot foods)), there is no need to let the sauce cool beforehand.
Pour half of the sauce (piperade) into the bottom of a shallow baking pan. Arrange the vegetables, alternating them as you go, into a spiral. Repeat until the pan is full. I prefer to use a round baking dish for presentation, but you can easily use a rectangular pan. You decide!
Season the vegetables with Cherchies® Garlic Seasoning and pepper. Drizzle the remaining piperade over the vegetables. Cover pan with foil and bake until vegetables are tender (about 1 and a half hours, or when easily cut by a knife). Uncover the vegetables and bake for another 30 minutes until vegetables are slightly golden. Serve warm.
Enjoy this beautiful savory dish with your favorite meat or seafood and some bread to sop up the delicious juices.