I’ve been enamored with the dish ratatouille ever since seeing the Disney-Pixar rendition. Did anyone else think it was such an excellent portrayal of life in a restaurant? Especially when considering it was mostly from the perspective of a rat.
For this wintertime variation, I thought a heavy dose of sage was appropriate. Really, you can use whatever roots or veggies you are feeling like. They will happily take on the hearty, prominent flavors in the base sauce.
It’s perfectly tender with just a hint of crispness over the top. It would make the perfect holiday dinner side dish and it is sure to impress your friends. 👍🏻
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Hearty Winter Ratatouille
Serves: 6 (as a side dish)
For the base layer:
1 lb. roma tomatoes (about 5)
1/2 medium white or sweet onion, chopped small
5 cloves garlic
1 tbsp. tomato paste
5 sage leaves, chopped
1 tsp. minced fresh rosemary
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp. dry white wine (or red wine vinegar)
Sea salt & black pepper, to taste
For the upper layer:
2 large zucchini
3 medium rutabaga
1 medium butternut squash (search for a skinny one)
Extra-virgin olive oil
Herbs de Provence
Pastured parmesan cheese (optional)
Sea salt & black pepper
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Grate the tomatoes with a box grater over a medium bowl. You should get a lot of pulp from the center of the tomatoes with most of the skin left behind. Discard the skins.
Add butter to a wide saute pan over medium heat. Saute the onion until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the grated tomato pulp, tomato paste, sage, rosemary, and thyme. Bring to a simmer and stir occasionally until much of the tomato juices have evaporated, about 10 minutes.
Stir in the butter, extra-virgin olive oil, and white wine. Continue to simmer until the sauce has thickened, about 5 more minutes. Carefully sample the sauce and add sea salt and black pepper, to taste. Pour the sauce out into a 9×13 (or close to) baking dish. Spread out into a thin layer across the bottom.
Slice the butternut squash into two pieces where the long neck meets the bulb-like end. Reserve the bulb piece for another use. Use a mandoline or the blade attachment to a food processor to thinly slice the zucchini, rutabaga, and butternut squash. (Note: the thinner the slices, the shorter the total cook time.)
Stack the slices into the baking dish, alternating between the different veggies. Pack them in tightly but allow them to lay slightly at an angle. Drizzle the slices very generously with extra-virgin olive oil. Sprinkle with herbs de Provence, sea salt, black pepper, and a heavy layer of parmesan cheese (if using).
Cover with foil and bake for 45 minutes. (This cook time is for 1/4″ slices, as shown above. If you’ve used a mandoline and have closer to 1/8″ slices, shorten this to 30 minutes.) Uncover the dish and bake another 20-30 minutes, or until the slices are tender and the tops begin to turn golden brown.
- Many veggies or roots can be swapped out here if you have a different preference. Japanese eggplant, turnip, yellow squash, sweet potato, or red potatoes would all work great.
- You can shorten the prep time by using a clean, jarred marinara sauce for the base layer.