Ratatouille (Confit Byaldi)

While traditional ratatouille is prepared as a vegetable stew of eggplant, squash and peppers, this version, known as "confit byaldi," is the fancier version of the dish showcased in the Disney film Ratatouille.


Serves 4 to 6
½ cup (125 ml) olive oil, divided
1½ cups (375 ml) coarsely chopped onion
2 x 8-in (20 cm) stalks of celery, coarsely chopped
2 red bell peppers, coarsely chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
⅓ cup (75 ml) red vermouth or red wine
1 x 796 ml (27 oz) can whole tomatoes
⅛ tsp (0.5 ml) dried pepper flakes
2 tbsp (30 ml) chopped fresh basil (or 2 tsp (10 ml) dried basil)
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh thyme (or 1 tsp (5 ml) dried thyme)
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp (5 ml) dried oregano)
1 tbsp (15 ml) chopped fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp (5 ml) dried rosemary, crushed)
2 bay leaves
1 tsp (5 ml) sugar
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tbsp (15 ml) balsamic vinegar
2 green zucchinis, sliced crosswise, ⅛-in (0.25 cm) thick
6 to 7 large firm Roma tomatoes, sliced crosswise, ⅛-in (0.25 cm) thick
2 yellow zucchinis, sliced crosswise, ⅛-in (0.25 cm) thick
2 long eggplants, sliced crosswise, ⅛-in (0.25 cm) thick
2 tbsp (30 ml) pesto
basil leaves, for garnish


  1. In large saucepan, heat ¼ cup (60 ml) olive oil over high heat until shimmering. Add onions, celery, red bell peppers and garlic. Sauté until onions turn translucent and edges turn slightly gold, about 6 to 8 minutes.
  2. Add ⅓ cup (75 ml) vermouth or wine and deglaze, scraping off the fond from bottom of saucepan, until all liquid is evaporated and vegetables look glazed.
  3. Reduce heat to medium and add canned tomatoes, dried pepper flakes, basil, thyme, oregano and rosemary and stir while gently crushing tomatoes.
  4. Add bay leaves, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer for about 20 minutes. Uncover and continue cooking until most liquid has evaporated, about another 10 minutes.
  5. Add sugar and season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in balsamic vinegar, cover and remove from heat.
  6. Remove and discard bay leaves. Using an immersion blender, purée tomato mixture in the saucepan until coarsely combined. Be careful, as liquid will be hot. Set aside to cool.
  7. Preheat oven to 375 F (190 C). Cut a piece of parchment paper the size of the 10-in (25 cm) cast iron skillet or baking dish you will use to bake the ratatouille and set aside.
  8. In a 10-in (25 cm) cast iron skillet or baking dish, evenly spread a thin layer of the tomato sauce.
  9. Create stacks consisting of a single slice each of green zucchini, tomato, yellow zucchini and eggplant. Lean each stack along the outer edge of the skillet or baking dish with the tomato sauce. Similarly, repeat layering the stacks on their sides to form inner circles.
  10. Generously drizzle with 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil and season with salt and pepper. Cover the surface with pre-cut parchment paper and bake for about 40 minutes.
  11. In a small bowl, mix pesto and 2 tbsp (30 ml) olive oil and set aside.
  12. Remove baking dish from oven and discard parchment paper. Drizzle pesto mixture on top and return to oven, uncovered, for another 15 minutes.
  13. Remove from oven and garnish with basil leaves, as desired.
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