Ottolenghi’s oven-baked ratatouille

I’ll admit, I’m usually one for quick and easy dishes. (And we’re talking genuinely quick here –  I have yet to open Jamie’s 30 minute meals because 30 mins just seems too darn long most of the time!) However, last night I was feeling extravagent, so I did what I always do in that mood – I turned to Yotam Ottolenghi.

For those of you who don’t know, Yotan Ottolenghi is an extraordinarily talented chef and baker whose Mediterranian-come-Middle Eastern-come-nouveau vegetarian-come-yummy recipes have been taking London by storm. His restaurant in Islington is almost certainly where I’d pick for my last meal. Plus, he’s kinda cute:

Am I right?

The only downside  is that his recipes do tend to be incredibly time consuming and use lots of ingredients, most of which you’re unlikely to have in your store cupboard. But they are decidedly worth the effort, as I was reminded when I decided to cook ‘Tamara’s Ratatouille’ – a delicious blend of butternut squash, tomatoes, aubergines, green beans, peppers and chillis, with a whole load of herbs and spices to add flavour. (You can see a full version of the recipe on this great little teaser website or just buy his new book, ‘Plenty’, from amazon.)

 You begin by cooking all the veggies together on the hob for 30 mins before transferring it to the oven to bake for 30 mins.I must say, I’ve never thought of cooking ratatouille in the oven, but it really works. It gets rid of all the wateryness and really brings it all together in a rich stew.

Here’s what mine looked like before I popped it in the oven:

And here’s what it looked like after:

You see the difference?

I served mine with a side of butternut squash with a parmasan-herb crust and tzatziki.

I reckon the whole process took at least 1 hour and a half, not including shopping. But when they coined the phrase ‘good things come to those who wait’, I’m pretty sure they had this ratatouille in mind.

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