When the Disney movie Ratatouille came out, I wondered what on Earth could be so special about ratatouille. It sounds like it could be a pasta dish, though it isn’t, so I was picturing a rotini with squash or something. As it turns out, the results were better than i imagined they would be. Paige ate it right up.
Ratatouille is a traditional French stew. According to Julia Child in her 1968 book French Chef Cookbook:
When a ratatouille is made as it should be, it is a casserole of cooked vegetables in which each of them retains its shape and its own special character.
This isn’t the classic method for cooking this dish, but it does remain somewhat true to its heritage. I used a red onion in place of a yellow and summer squash in place of zucchini, out of necessity. It came out well, nonetheless. I wonder what Julia would say?
As for the leftovers? It’s quite tasty cold. You could eat it just like that or drizzle with a touch of good balsamic vinegar. Or you could even puree it, heat it up and eat it over pasta (pureeing optional).
Slow Cooker Ratatouille
- 1 1/2 lbs eggplant , peeled and cut into one inch cubes
- 1 red onion (about 2 1/2 to 3 inches in diameter), chopped
- 2 red peppers , seeded and chopped into large pieces
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
- 3 cloves garlic , minced
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 3 summer squash , sliced into 1/4 inch thick rounds
- 2 tsp dried basil
- black pepper
- Set a colander over your sink. Add eggplant and salt generously. Let sit for one hour, draining. Pat with a paper towel and transfer to your crockpot. Add the onion, peppers, tomatoes and garlic. Pour in the olive oil and stir.
- Set the crockpot to low and cook for two hours.
- Add the squash, basil and pepper and stir to combine. Cook on low for an additional 2-2 1/2 hours, until all the vegetables are cooked through.
Sarah Walker Caron is a cookbook author, freelance writer and founder of Sarah’s Cucina Bella. Her latest cookbook is The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook, published by Rockridge Press, which focuses on quick, easy, from-scratch cooking for busy people. A single mother to two kids in middle school, Sarah loves nightly family dinners, juicy tomatoes plucked fresh from the vine and lazy days on the beach. She also adores reading and traveling.