When I saw this movie in the theater, I went into labor (on Labor Day) with my first baby girl. I don't think that's why she loves cooking and food like me, but it demonstrates how even 9 months pregnant, my mind was on food. I had a great time watching this movie with her recently. She liked it a lot and had lots of questions about everything (as usual), one not surprising question being, "When can we make ratatouille?" It worked out perfectly that one typical ingredient is summer squash, so after harvesting, we made ratatouille for the first time.
Ratatouille is a vegetable dish with a tomato sauce and the main vegetables are zucchini and eggplant. Originally made in Provence, it was introduced to American cooks by Julia Child (how else?) If you want to read it or try it, here's Julia Child's recipe. I was going to make this recipe, but limited by time and not wanting that much oil/fat, I landed upon and used the recipe on Smitten Kitchen. This recipe was inspired by the movie and was a departure from the traditional preparation of sauteing each vegetable before combining and baking the dish. I followed it except for using fresh thyme (forgot). The mandolin slicer works awesome here!
As for the result, let's just say that this is a work in progress. It wasn't a crowd pleaser in my family but I really loved it. Lots of vegetables, good sauce . . . I'll make it again for sure but next time I'll add more fresh herbs and possibly cook the sauce before putting it in the pan underneath the veggies to give it more depth of flavor. We ate it as a main dish with crusty french bread and goat cheese but my husband said he would like it more as a side dish with some meat. I think next time, I might use it as a filling for crepes. Big sister liked making it (she loves patterns and was chanting "eggplant, squash, zucchini, pepper, eggplant, squash . . ." )
Ratatouille Recipe from Smitten Kitchen
How it looked coming out of the oven: