Recreating Disney’s ratatouille

You know how you see cartoon food in movies and on TV and you just imagine how good it would taste? I bet a few things came to your mind, but one of the things I’ve always wanted to try and recreate was the ratatouille from Disney’s Ratatouille – which, by the way, is one of my favourite Disney movies! So I put on the Ratatouille soundtrack, grabbed my own little chef and gave it a go – here’s how it went…

I found a recipe online to follow but in searching for supplies I came across my first issue. The recipe asks you to have ‘yellow squash’ which is actually code for a mini courgette and you can’t get those in our supermarkets so I thought I could substitute in a parsnip to get the yellow(ish) colour in the dish and thought it might add some sweetness too. But also need to bear in mind it’s thicker and takes longer to cook than a courgette type of vegetable would take.

I started off by blanching the tomatoes so that I could skin them. The next step was to slice up all the veg and put my new mandolin cutter to the test. I’ve learned that there is a certain technique to using it, that my mandolin cannot handle the strength of the parsnip and by looking at these slices you could also identify my major problem.
UK supermarkets (generally) don’t sell skinny aubergines so it’s hard to find ones that would match the width of a courgette and therefore my slices varied wildly in size. Nevertheless, I ploughed on.

The other key detail I realised as I continued was that this recipe was for HUGE portions, especially for the size of dish that I have (but I’ll come to that soon). Next step was to make the base sauce out of onions, garlic, pepper and the off cuts from my vegetable slicing adventure. But as you might have guessed it, I had SO much off cuts from the vegetables so my sauce ended up being thiccc, and there was tonnes of it.
So you combine the size of my dish with the width of my vegetable slices and… I ended up having to bake it in FOUR separate dishes. Well… at least there was enough to go around and I’ll be delivering food parcels to my extended family presently.

The dish ended up really tasty but I’ve learned my lesson and will only try this again when I can get even sized vegetables, AND I will certainly be making a lot less of it. It was fun to focus on a new recipe and pay attention to the details of making it look as pretty as possible.

If you were going to recreate food from a movie – what would you want to make?

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