When the movie Ratatouille came out I had never eaten, nor heard of, the actual dish. Like the rest of America, (except the real foodies and the French Americans) after discovering it wasn't just the name of the rat in the film, I was curious to try it. Luckily, I met a seductively mysterious young French man just 5 months later. Matthias and I had only known each other for a few weeks when he told me that he was preparing a French dinner for his roommates and I was welcome to join. When I arrived at his apartment he was sitting at the kitchen table diligently chopping an onion. I ask if I could help and he handed me a head of garlic. I looked around the table at the ingredients and realized that this real live French man was going to make real live ratatouille. It was en exciting moment indeed. After rudely criticizing his knife skills (sorry!) Matthias started to sautée all of the vegetables and in not too long we gathered around the table with big bowls of delicious food and let the Ratatouille (the movie) jokes begin. I was always too self conscious to try making it with Matthias around, so after he left for Paris in July, I finally decided it was time to make it on my own. I generally don't follow recipes when I cook or if I do, I inevitably make adjustments to ingredients and I knew that the main idea of ratatouille was so sautée a bunch of veggies into a soft warm mélange so I decided to put my ratatouille on a pizza in lieu of a sauce and top it with a simple grating of parmesano reggiano and a thick, sweet, balsamic glaze.
•pizza crust (I bought mine but feel free to use homemade) •olive oil •balsamic vinegar •your favorite cheese •some herbs (I used herbes de provence, fresh basil would go perfectly on top after baking) •salt & pepper •whatever vegetables you like, diced into small similar sized cubes I used - eggplant - zucchini - potato - tomato - onion •garlic cloves, minced
Directions: I try to use equal parts of each vegetable, with slightly more tomato. Start off by heating up some olive oil in a pan and dicing up the potatoes while it heats. Add the potatoes to the pan first and let them start cooking while you dice the rest of the vegetables. Add onions next, then the eggplant and zucchini but DO NOT ADD the tomato or garlic. Keep the heat relatively low, you just want to soften things up and start caramelizing the onion. Put your crust in the oven and cook for about 1/4 of the total time necessary. The vegetable mixture is going to be very moist and i like to give the crust a chance to crisp up a bit before getting it soggy with oil and juice. When the vegetables in the pan seem like they are getting soft enough to eat (mainly the potatoes) turn off the heat. Mix the tomatoes, garlic, salt & pepper, and your herbs and add them to the pan, which should still be warm, but turned off. Stir everything together and add it to the 1/4 cooked crust. Mine looked like this:
At this point, feel free to grate some cheese on top so it can melt into the vegetables in the oven. While the pizza is finishing in the oven, heat up some balsamic vinegar in your sautée pan with a bit of sugar and keep swishing it around until you notice it change in consistency from very runny liquid to more of a loose syrup. Take out your pizza and spoon the balsamic glaze on top. I added some fresh tomato slices. You could also put fresh basil on at this point.