With traditional ratatouille, vegetables are roasted, added to a gorgeous tomato sauce and cooked on the stovetop so the house smells like Provence. If your day feels more like watching the Ratatouille movie, this recipe bakes the ratatouille to free you up from stirring and eliminates the need to roast the vegetables which will become as tender as when roasted from the acids in the tomato sauce.
If using fresh tomatoes, you’ll need some time for them to reduce on the stove. I like to can my own San Marzanos from my favorite local tomato farmer, Hellard farms, but Glen Muir Organic is frankly so darn close your snobbiest tomato connoisseur won’t detect the difference. And if they do, they’ll certainly be making their next dinner.
One each of similar size: eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash or other vegetables
Olive (or any neutral) oil or vegetable broth
4-6 cloves garlic
1 large yellow onion
32 ounces tomato puree, canned whole tomato, fresh tomato—whatever you like to make into a sauce
Fresh (1/2 cup) or dried (1T) herbs such as basil and parsley
S&P to taste
Prepare your sauce. If using fresh tomatoes, I just sauté garlic and chopped onion until caramelized, add tomatoes and cook until everything is soft. Then puree in blender until a smooth consistency. Continue to reduce on stovetop until desired consistency (2 or so hours). Add herbs. Cook for ten additional minutes. Usually I would not need to add salt, it can be added at the table on the final product. Your taste needs may be different– so give your sauce a little tasting check in! Tomato puree in a can will have already been reduced but will need onions, garlic, and herbs added. If sodium is a concern, read labels if using canned products.
Thinly slice your vegetables. If all the vegetables are close to the same size, they will cook evenly. Don’t get too wrapped up on size. This recipe is flawless as the cooking is fairly slow. Preheat your oven to 350°F.
Place enough sauce to thinly cover the bottom of your pan. Place your vegetables as appeals to you in your pan. Columns for a square pan and rings for a circular pan. Layer with sauce and if desired additional herbs. The herbs will cook into the sauce, enhancing the flavor. Many people love oregano for sauces, but I prefer parsley and basil. Bake for 55-65 minutes until the sauce absorbs and the vegetables are tender.