The other evening I had a couple friends over and made ratatouille and had sort of a "French" themed evening. We ended up popping in the Disney movie "Ratatouille".
Afterwards, I thought it sounded very family-friendly and fun! (I know that we at least thought it was fun!)
Besides serving the ratatouille, I also offered:
Bread (a demi-loaf of wheat from Target - any fresh bread would do)
Brie cheese (Presidente Light Brie, also from Target)
A bottle of Bordeaux (substitute grape juice or sparkling grape juice for youngsters)
For dessert, sherbet served in short champagne glasses.
The recipe is super-easy to follow & make (or else I would not have bothered). It ends up being a stew being very low in liquid (not the stacked casserole shown in the film. HA!) Courtesy of the "Martha Stewart Everyday Food" magazine, October 2010.
1 can (28 oz.) whole peeled tomatoes
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 large eggplant (1 lb.) cut into 1-inch pieces
course salt & ground pepper
2 large yellow onions (1 lb. total) diced large
1 head garlic, cloves smashed & peeled
2 bell peppers (any color) seeded & diced large
2 large zucchini (1 lb. total) diced large
1 bay leaf
1 tablespoon fresh marjoram or oregano leaves
2 to 3 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place tomatoes and juices on a rimmed baking sheet and use your hands to break tomatoes into 3/4-inch pieces. Drizzle with 2 tablespoons oil and bake until thickened, 30 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes. (Also, I initially seasoned w/ S&P. Breaking up the tomatoes would be fun for kids)
2. Meanwhile, in a colander, toss eggplant with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. Let sit 20 minutes, then squeeze out excess liquid (I found the squeezing out unnecessary). In a large Dutch oven or heavy pot, heat 4 tablespoons oil over medium. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally (kids will like to stir), until translucent, 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook until onions and garlic are soft, 5 minutes. Add peppers and cook, stirring, until crisp-tender, 4 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
3. Add tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, bay leaf, and marjoram to pot. Cook, stirring occasionally (again, kids love to stir) until mixture comes to a simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low, partially cover and cook at a gentle simmer until vegetables are tender but not mushy, 15 minutes. Season to taste with vinegar, salt, and pepper.
per 3/4 cup: 85 cal., 5.5 g. fat (0.8 g. sat fat), 1.6 g. protein, 8.3 g. carbs., 2.5 g. fiber
I think the trick is to taste and season as you go. I like to season with every layer. Every time you add an (or set of) ingredients: season. At the end, when it tells you to add the S&P and vinegar, just add enough to your taste. I'm not sure I ended up adding quite 2 tbsp. vinegar and THAT much S&P. You kind of want to leave that up to your guests, I think. Just add enough to taste, do everything in moderation.