Who didn’t enjoy Pixar’s Ratatouille?
Yeah, I know…A rat in the kitchen is not the ideal match and I don’t really know why Pixar chose this particular animal. But if you just pass over this thought, you might find yourself identifying with that rat!! Well, at least I DID!!
My hero it’s Remy. Not the Gordon “Ramseys” (although I admire him very much) or the Jamie “Olivers” (uhm…).
When I enrolled at the College in 2014, here n Aberdeen, “Professional cookery” course, at the beginning I was exactly like Remy.
At first I felt insignificant, and I was afraid to show my skills. I knew I could cook but I always had great insecurity.
In two years of college, with the help of exceptional teachers, I managed to get the most out of myself. I’m not a Michelin restaurant chef, I CAN’T, I DON’T WANT EVEN TRY! My plating always made my teachers scream “It’s too” wifey”. But I discovered that simple recipes, which are rooted in my culture (Italian) and my past experiences around the world (Egypt, Alaska and now here in Scotland) are those in which I can “perform”better. I’m just happy to cook!
This is the message I deliver in all my cooking classes: cooking is relaxing, inspiring, emotional, simple and affordable. It doesn’t have to be too serious.
RATATOUILLECourse: Cuisine: Difficulty:
SAUCE 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil 1/2 large red onion finely chopped 1 red bell pepper chopped 1 can plum tomatoes, drained (400 gr) 1 garlic clove 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar 1 tsp freshly chopped thyme leaves 1 tsp dried oreganosea salt and black pepper to taste
RATATOUILLE: tbsp olive oil
3 tsp fresh thyme, basil, parsley, and/or oregano, finely chopped
1 small yellow/summer squash
3 plum tomatoes
1 red bell pepper, deseeded
salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 190°C.
heat a shallow pan over medium-low heat. Fold in olive oil, red onion, whole canned tomatoes, chopped red bell pepper and garlic.
Stir-fry for 5 min, then add in the balsamic vinegar, 1 and half spoon of chopped herbs. Mix all the ingredients together and gently crush the tomatoes with a wooden spoon.
Allow to cook for about 10 min, then season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover the bottom of the baking dish with spoonful of this sauce
- Using a mandolin, or a really sharp knife, thinly, and evenly, slice the eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash, tomatoes and red pepper. Make the slices thin.
- Put the slices vertically, following the same sequence: aubergine, courgette, yellow squash, tomatoes, red pepper. And again. Save the smaller rounds for the center of the dish.
- Drizzle with t olive oil and season with more salt and pepper. Sprinkle the remaining chopped herbs. Cover the dish with parchment paper cut to it just inside the dish rim, directly on top of the vegetable .
- Bake for 40 minutes -1 hour (depending on how thick your vegetable slices are), until vegetables are soft.
- Wine to accompany this dish: Syrah from France or Argentina would work pretty well.