A dish inspired by the recipe from Thomas Keller (culinary consultant for the animated movie Ratatouille). Alas my final creation did not emerge like the one in the feature film. But it was delicious (the adapted recipe below). Click here for the original recipe (and a photo of how it should look like).
Thomas Keller's Ratatouille
2 red peppers, seeds and ribs removed
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup finely diced yellow onion
1/2 Japanese (Kabocha) Squash
1 sprig fresh thyme
1 sprig rosemary
2 zucchini (4 to 5 ounces) sliced in 1/16-inch rounds
1/2 eggplant (4 to 5 ounces) sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
2 tomatoes, sliced into 1/16-inch rounds
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Roast squash for an hour on foil, until tender when pricked. Place the peppers cut side down on a foil-lined sheet. Roast until skin loosens, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let rest until cool enough to handle. Peel and chop finely. Skin and de-seed squash, puree in blender.
Combine 2 tablespoons of olive oil and onion in medium skillet over low heat until very soft but not browned, about 8 minutes. Add the squash, fresh thyme, and rosemary. Simmer over low heat about 10 minutes. Do not brown. Add peppers and simmer to soften them. Season to taste with salt, and discard herbs.
Reserve one tablespoon of the mixture and spread remainder in bottom of an 8-inch skillet nice enough to serve from, or a small, shallow casserole dish. Reduce the heat in the oven to 275 degrees.
Down center of the skillet or casserole dish, arrange a strip of alternating slices of zucchini, eggplant, and tomatoes, overlapping so that 1/4 inch of each slice is exposed. Around the center strip, overlap the vegetables in a close spiral that lets slices mound slightly toward center. Repeat until pan is filled.
Mix 1/2 teaspoon of the minced garlic, 2 tablespoons of olive oil in bowl and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle over the vegetables.
Cover pan with foil and seal well. Bake until vegetables are tender, about 2 hours. Uncover and bake for 30 minutes more.
For the final topping combine the reserved tablespoon of sauce with the remaining 1 tablespoon oil, and salt and pepper to taste in a bowl. Drizzle around plate. Serve hot. Serves 4 to 6.