Have you ever watched something and thought, Wow, that looks delicious? Chances are, so have your kids. For your next family movie night, prepare a meal from one of your favorite flicks and enjoy it before—or while—watching the movie that inspired the recipe. We recommend Pixar’s Ratatouille and creating the signature dish the movie’s premise revolves around: the idea that anyone can cook.
Inspired by Pixar's Ratatouille
- ½ white onion, diced
- 1 ½ carrots, peeled and chopped
- ½ orange bell pepper, diced
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
- 1 15-oz can of whole, peeled tomatoes in sauce
- 1 zucchini
- 1 yellow squash
- 1 Chinese eggplant
- 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
- ¼ tsp. salt, plus more for seasoning
- ½ tsp. dried thyme
- ¼ tsp. red pepper flakes
- Freshly ground pepper, to taste
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Kids can help wash and dry the vegetables and peel the carrots. Using age-appropriate knives, like Curious Chef’s 3-piece Nylon Knife Set (for children ages 4+), teach kids how to cut the onion, carrots and bell pepper into small pieces and place together in a bowl. Set aside. Mince garlic and set aside. Then, slice the Chinese eggplant, zucchini and yellow squash into circles roughly an eighth of an inch thick (for best results, buy similarly sized vegetables). Place rounds on a plate and set aside. Before beginning to cook, help your kids measure and stir together the Italian seasoning, salt, dried thyme, red pepper flakes and black pepper into a small bowl.
To create the ratatouille’s base-layer sauce, measure two tablespoons of olive oil into a large saucepan and sauté the onion, carrots and bell pepper slices on medium heat. Add the bowl of seasoning and cook for eight to 10 minutes, or until onions appear translucent, letting your kids stir mixture occasionally. Add garlic, reduce heat to low, and sauté an additional one and a half minutes. Pour in the canned tomatoes and crush each of them into small pieces with a fork. Cover and simmer on low heat until your kids can easily poke through the carrots with a fork. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Using a high-speed blender, blend the sautéed veggie mixture in two batches for one minute each, stopping every 15 seconds to let out steam. Pour sauce into a 9.5-inch glass pie dish and spread evenly.
How to Assemble
Beginning on the outside of the pie dish and working along the edge, layer eggplant, zucchini, and yellow squash rounds in a circle, alternating every third slice. The rounds should be overlapping, but not covering each other. When the outside circle is complete, create a second circle along the inside of the first one and continue making circles until all the sauce is covered. Drizzle with the remaining two tablespoons of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Cover the dish with tin foil and bake for 40 minutes on a rack in the middle of your oven. Then, uncover and bake an additional 30 minutes. Let cool for five to 10 minutes before serving. Top with shredded parmesan cheese, if desired.