When you think of food in Disney Films, there are a few things that come to mind. The spaghetti from Lady and the Tramp; the Beignets from The Princess and the Frog; and, of course, The Grey Stuff from Beauty and the Beast. (All recipes we will be recreating in the future, by the way) However, the Disney/Pixar film that probably has the best (and most accurate) examples of great food is Ratatouille. I mean, who hasn’t wanted to sample the Ratatouille from Ratatouille? Well, we’re going to show you how you can with our latest Disney Dish
Let’s Get This Out Of The Way
The dish that Remy creates in Ratatouille, technically, isn’t Ratatouille. It’s really a dish that goes by the name of (fancy French term alert!) Confit Byaldi that was perfected by the great chef Thomas Keller.
Ratatouille itself is a much more rustic dish. We’ll have a version of that coming your way in the near future.
This dish, however, uses a lot of the same flavors in a much more elegant, if more difficult to construct, way.
But you’re not here to learn the classic form of Ratatouille. You’re here to find out how to create the dish that made your tummy rumble every time our favorite little rat/chef spooned his sauce around the beautifully sculpted plate of vegetables.
Let’s get cooking!
The Piperade (aka The Sauce)
Roasting the Peppers
Preheat your oven to 450ºF. Cut the Red Bell Peppers in half and remove the stem, ribs and seeds. Place the halves in a bowl with a 1/2 tablespoon of oil, 1/4 teaspoon of Kosher Salt and an 1/8 teaspoon of freshly ground Black Pepper. Place on a sheet pan with inside of the peppers facing down and roast in the oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the peppers begin to brown
- You can also roast the peppers over an open flame on your grill or stove top. I just prefer this technique because it provides great results while allowing you to complete other tasks. It also limits the amount of charred skin that might make it’s way into your dish.
Prepping the Tomatoes
While the peppers are roasting, fill a medium sized sauce pan with water and bring to a boil. You will also want to fill a large bowl with ice water. Take all of the tomatoes you will be using for this dish (3 for the sauce & 4 for the vegetable layers) and make an “x” on each end with a knife. (Like in the picture below)
Place the prepped tomatoes in the boiling water and blanch for about 45 seconds. Once you see the skin start to separate or larger cracks appear in the skin, quickly remove the tomatoes and place in the ice water bath to stop the cooking. You should then be able to easily peel the skin away. Use a paring knife if you find you’re having any struggles.
On to the Piperade
Quarter the 3 tomatoes you’ll be using for the sauce and place the 4 you’ll be using for the vegetable layers in your freezer for about 10 – 15 minutes. (I know! Trust me, there’s a reason for this)
Once the peppers have completed roasting, remove them from the oven and place them immediately in a medium sized bowl and tightly cover with plastic wrap. Let sit for at least 20 mins. Then uncover and peel off the skins. The post-roasting steaming should make them fairly easy to remove.
Slice the onion, garlic and roasted red pepper (don’t worry about being too fine on this because it will, eventually, all be going into a blender, anyway). Then remove the thyme and rosemary leaves from their stems.
These Veggies Are My “Jam”
Place a medium to large pan on the stove over medium-high heat and add the oil. Sweat the onions until they begin to become translucent. Then, add the garlic and sweat for about 30 seconds. Next, add the roasted red peppers, the 3 tomatoes not in the freezer, thyme, rosemary and the bay leaf. Reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are thoroughly cooked and seem almost “jammy”. Like in the photo below.
Remove the bay leaf and place the “jammy” vegetables in a blender. Puree until smooth adding a little water if the mixture seems too thick.
Season to taste with kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then, pour into a bowl and reserve. You have your sauce!
- If you prefer a little more spice in your food, you can add a pinch of Cayenne Pepper. A splash of Red Wine Vinegar can, also, add a little acidic zip to the sauce. Use one; use both; or just stay with the recipe as it is. It’s all good!
This is where the detail work for this dish starts to take place. The slicing and placement of these vegetables is what makes this dish both elegant and complex. It’s what sets it apart from your traditional Ratatouille.
- Shopping Note: Try and find vegetables that are as similar in size, width-wise, as possible. That’s the reason we use Japanese Eggplant instead of the more traditional version. They won’t be exactly the same size but, the closer you can get, the easier the layering will be.
Let’s start slicing veggies!
First, place the Japanese eggplant in the freezer for about 10 – 15 minutes. (I know! I know! I’m getting to it). With a very sharp knife, or a mandolin, very carefully slice the Zucchini and Summer Squash into 1/8″ shingles.
- Warning: Mandolins used improperly can cause a significant injury. (I’m not kidding. I’ve seen it happen many times) Please use the provided guard or, at the very least, be very careful. Especially as your hands get closer to the blade.
Remove the Tomatoes and Japanese Eggplant from the freezer. Slice them into 1/8″ shingles with a knife. (If you have a really good mandolin you may be able to use it to slice the eggplant, as well. Again, please be very careful)
- Here’s the Reason for the Freezin’: Slightly freezing the more delicate vegetables makes firms them a bit and makes them easier to slice. This is especially important for the Tomatoes. It also works for the Japanese Eggplant because the skin tends to be a little tough.
If you’ve made dressings before, this is pretty straight forward. Place the Balsamic Vinegar and minced Garlic in a bowl. Slowly add the oil while continuously whisking until the mixture thickens. Season with Kosher Salt and freshly ground Black Pepper to taste. (I will usually add a touch of honey or brown sugar, as well, to balance the acidity)
Assembling The Dish
Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
Select your favorite baking our casserole dish (I used a 9″ glass pie pan) and prepare with a coat of cooking spray or vegetable oil. Then spread a light and even layer of the Piperade across the bottom. This will add to the flavor of the dish and help keep the vegetables from burning on the bottom.
Begin layering the vegetables in your preferred order alternating between them. As you can see from the photo above, I went Zucchini, Summer Squash, Tomato, Eggplant, Zucchini, Summer Squash, and so forth. I find it easiest to organize them 8 at a time and then place them around the outer edge of the pan as you see below.
Continue to layer the vegetables in a circular pattern, if you’re using a round or oblong pan, Use alternating lines, if you’re using a square or rectangular pan.
- As you may be able to see from my version, while I tried to get vegetables that had about the same width, there were some differences. The next time I create this dish I would probably slice the veggies just a little bit thinner to make them easier to work with, as well.
The Final Layer
Once you have all the layers complete, drizzle the top of the dish with a little of the Balsamic Vinaigrette and sprinkle with a bit of the minced fresh herbs. Cut a piece of parchment paper to fit the top of your dish and place directly on top of the vegetables. (You can also cover with aluminum foil but do it loosely to allow a little bit of the steam escape)
Place the pan in the oven and roast at 325ºF for 90 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through and soft.
- When cooking is completed, you may find a bit extra liquid in the pan. If this happens, you can handle this in two ways. If you don’t mind placing the baking dish over an open flame, put in on the stove on medium heat and simmer until much of the liquid reduces. However, if you prefer, you can also uncover the vegetables and place in a 350ºF oven and cook until the liquid dissipates. Just be sure to keep an eye on it to make sure the tops of the vegetables don’t become too browned or burned.
Now it’s time for the ultimate part of the dish; the elegant plating. You can easily just serve this dish using a spatula or spoon and place it on a dish or bowl and drizzle with the remaining Piperade and Vinaigrette. There’s nothing wrong with that and it will still be delicious.
But is that what Remy would do?
We both know the answer to that. He’d do it just like he did it in the movie; perfectly! (Okay, we won’t do it perfectly but we can try to make it close) Here’s how to do that.
Place a ring mold (round cookie cutter) in the center of the plate. Using a small spatula or spoon, gently scoop the vegetables from the baking dish and place in a similar way in the ring. The veggies on the base should, essentially, be standing up vertically. Once you fill the base of the ring, lay another layer on the top, horizontally. Carefully remove the ring. If you packed the ring with enough of the vegetables, it should, mostly, keep its shape.
Gently heat the remaining Piperade and drizzle a little of the sauce and the Balsamic Vinaigrette around the vegetable stack. Garnish with some minced Parsley and a single Chive on top.
This dish isn’t as hearty as your typical Ratatouille but it’s not meant to be. It, definitely, doesn’t lack the classic taste you’d expect. The roasted vegetables are delicate yet flavorful at the same time. The Piperade adds a really rich and creamy element that supports the body of the dish. Finally, the Balsamic Vinaigrette adds a nice sweetness and, much needed, acidity that really balances the plate.
So, would I make this Disney Dish regularly?
Probably not, regularly, in this exact form. It’s just a little too time consuming to create on a day-to-day basis. However, I would use all the elements of this dish to create something in a simpler manner. All the flavors blend so perfectly. It’s worth adding it to your regular side or even main dishes.
However, if you’ve always wanted to create this dish since the first time you saw Ratatouille, I suggest you give it a try. The final result is a delicious and elegant dish that will wow your family and friends.
And don’t forget what Gusteau always says:
Anyone Can Cook!
If you have any questions about recreating this or any of our dishes, please comment below or email me here.
Ratatouille From Ratatouille (Confit Byaldi)
- 2 – Red Bell Peppers – Halved with the stems, ribs and seeds removed
- 1/2 – Yellow Onion – Sliced
- 3 Cloves – Fresh Garlic – Sliced
- 3 – Roma Tomatoes
- 1 Sprig – Thyme
- 1 Sprig – Rosemary
- Bay Leaf
- 1/2 tbls – Olive Oil (I used Avocado Oil instead – Health Reasons)
- 1/4 tsp – Kosher or Sea Salt
- 1/8 tsp – Black Pepper – Freshly Ground
- Salt & Pepper – To Taste
- 2 – Zucchini
- 2 – Summer Squash
- 4 – Roma Tomatoes
- 2 – Japanese Eggplants
- 1/2 tbls – Fresh Rosemary – Minced
- 1/2 tbls – Fresh Parsley – Minced
- 1 tbls – Balsamic Vinegar
- 1 Clove – Fresh Garlic – Minced Finely
- 3 tbls – Olive Oil (again, I used Avocado Oil)
- Salt & Pepper – To Taste
- 1 tsp – Honey or Brown Sugar (optional)
- 1 tbls – Fresh Parsley – Minced
- Chives – Trimmed
Roasting the Peppers:
- Preheat oven to 450°F
- Combine the Red Bell Peppers, oil, salt and pepper
- Roast the peppers in a 450º oven for 25 – 30 minutes
- Remove from oven, place the peppers in a medium size bowl and cover with plastic wrap
- Let rest for at least 20 minutes then remove the skins from the peppers
- Reserve the peppers for later use
For the Tomatoes:
- Fill a medium-sized pan with water and bring to a boil
- Fill a large bowl with ice and water
- Take all of the Tomatoes for this dish and cut an “X” into both ends
- Blanch the Tomatoes in the boiling water for about 45 seconds
- Immediately remove and place in the ice water bath to stop the cooking process
- Extract from the water and remove the Tomato skin
- Reserve for later use
For the Piperade:
- Heat a large pan with a 1/2 tablespoon of oil
- Add the sliced Onions and sweat until almost translucent
- Add the sliced Garlic and sweat for another 30 seconds
- Quarter 3 peeled Tomatoes and add them to the pan along with the sliced Roasted Red Peppers, Rosemary, Thyme and Bay Leaf
- Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are cooked thoroughly and have a “jammy” texture
- In a blender, puree the vegetables in a blender until smooth; adding water to thin, if necessary
- Season to taste with Salt & Pepper
- Reserve the completed Piperade for later use
For the Vegetables:
- Preheat oven to 325ºF
- Using a mandolin or sharp knife, cut the Zucchini, Summer Squash, Tomatoes and Japanese Eggplant into approximately 1/8″ thick slices
- Coat your preferred baking dish with cooking spray or vegetable oil
- Spoon a light an even layer of the Piperade on the bottom of the baking dish
- Layer the baking dish with the vegetables, alternating between each type
- Continue to layer until the dish is completely full
- Drizzle the Balsamic Vinaigrette over the vegetables and top with the minced Rosemary and Parsley
- Cut a sheet of parchment paper to size and place on top of the vegetables
- Cook in a 325ºF oven for 90 minutes
- Place a ring mold in the center of a plate
- With a small spatula, fill the ring mold with the vegetables vertically; then top with a horizontal layer
- Carefully remove the ring
- Drizzle some of the remaining Piperade and Balsamic Vinaigrette around the plated vegetables
- Garnish with minced Parsley and Chive
- Serve Immediately
If you like this Disney Dish, be sure to check out some of our other recipes: