Rat(atouille)


Pixar movies are some of my favorite movies. I’ve loved almost all of them – the Cars movies didn’t do it for me, but all of the others are among my all-time favorites movies. They’re fun for kids and interesting for adults – there’s just something so sweet about them. Since I love food (who doesn’t?), it’s no wonder that I loved the movie Ratatouille. I mean, how can you not like a movie about a rat that aspires to become a cook? So gosh-darned cute! (Btw, I think that working at Pixar has to be awesome. I saw a documentary once, where offices look like a cross between a playroom, comic store, jungle gym, all kinds of comfortable sitting, and bikes in the hallway. Plus a fun and creative workplace. I want a job like that).

When Ego, the critic comes to the restaurant to critique the restaurant, Remy (the rat) decides to cook ratatouille. (On a side note, the part with the rats helping out with the cooking always makes me grin, especially where they are steam cleaned). Remy also cooks ratatouille again for Ego once they open up their own restaurant.

Ratatouille is one of those dishes that has never thrilled me. It’a late summer dish, combining eggplant, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers, onion and garlic – at least that’s the traditional version from the Provence, although people seem to customize it to taste. But somehow I’d rather not eat a vegetable stew in late summer. I’d rather eat something like that in the fall or winter, when it’s cold and blustery – which defeats the purpose of making it with fresh, ripe vegetables. Of course, there’s also the version where the ingredients is layered and served as a casserole. But I’m not a casserole fan either, so it seems like ratatouille will be one of those things that I won’t make.

ratatouille tart

Smitten Kitchen's Ratatouille Tart

Or not? How about a ratatouille tart? Puffed pastry with a thin layer of tomato sauce, thinly sliced vegetables arranged prettily, topped with feta and fresh herbs. It’s almost like a ratatouille pizza/egg-free quiche. Ok, that’s an exaggeration, but I bet a ratatouille pizza would be yummy too. And I’m sure it’s also delicious cold. I might not be best friends with traditional ratatouille, but I can easily imagine enjoying Ratatouille ‘derivatives.’

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