I fell in love with Disney Pixar’s film Ratatouille the first time I saw it. It was quaint, and artistic; a passionate celebration of food and France. I was one of those little kids who had imaginary friends and tea parties. Silly I know, but it gave me comfort. In my mind, that’s exactly how I saw Gusteau- a comfortable looking version of Casper the Friendly Ghost, complete with his starched white chef’s hat. I imagined him popping up beside me, rotund like Humpty Dumpty, providing little tidbits of advice and comfort. I’d present my dish to a raptured group of diners and like a play, the curtains would close to the sound of a thundering applause.
Well, none of that theatre and flourish ever happened, but I did finally make Remy’s recipe. It still transported me to dreamland, and made me truly appreciate the essence of the film. Even the most humble of foods can be a masterpiece. As Chef Auguste Gusteau said, “Good food is like music you can taste, color you can smell. There is excellence all around you. You need only to be aware to stop and savor it.“ With those happy thoughts, here’s my recipe for the perfect Ratatouille. Just like in the movie.
STEP 1: To make the sauce for the base, roast the bell peppers over a low flame until the skins are charred. Peel and set aside. Fry the onions, garlic and ends of the vegetables (waste not, want not!) with the fennel seeds and rosemary. Blitz to form a fine puree.
STEP 2: Using a slicer, chop the vegetables into fine circles. The finer the vegetable, the easier it is to mould it into the desired shape. Spoon some of the sauce over the bottom of the tray and lay a round of each vegetable, overlapping them to form spirals. Roast in the oven at 180 C, till the vegetables are cooked through.
STEP 3: This is the really fun part! Get yourself a mould and fill in the ratatouille in a circular motion, topping it off with a section of vegetables (eggplant, zucchinis, and tomato) Place the mould over a plate and gentle ease it off. Finish off with a generous smothering of sauce around the ratatouille. Garnish with some chive or basil, Et voilà! Bon Appétite! 🙂