This baked ratatouille recipe is the perfect summer dish to make for dinner or for summer parties! Inspired by a beloved children’s movie, and by Thomas Keller, this layered style of ratatouille, or confit byaldi, will impress guests. Layers of Chinese eggplant, yellow squash, zucchini, and tomatoes with a sweet and robust pepper and tomato sauce is easy to prepare and just as easy to plate for a gourmet feel.
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A few years ago, Disney came out with an adorable movie called Ratatouille. Everyone in the food industry loves it because it is a cute representation of what we do every day (sadly, we don’t have rats helping us with our daily prep lists… health code). Remy was the cutest little sous chef and confidence booster to Alfredo. But did you know that Ratatouille is the name of an actual traditional French dish?! And it’s perfect for summer?! I’m taking this traditional French ratatouille and giving it my own twist!
What is Ratatouille
Ratatouille truly is an incredible summer dish if you think about it. Let me back up here for a second… what exactly is Ratatouille, Marlee??? Ratatouille is an amazingly clean and light French dish, seeing as how the French really love their butter and cream. It is more or less a vegetable stew of eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, and zucchini! Throw in some fresh herbs, like thyme and parsley, and you’ve got yourself a Ratatouille! Now what makes Ratatouille such an ode to summer is that:
- It uses vegetables that are found plentifully during summer!
- It can be eaten cold as a dip!
- This isn’t a heavy dish whatsoever!
What is Confit Byaldi
Confit byaldi is a Modern French interpretation of Ratatouille in which the ratatouille ingredients are sliced thin, layered, and then baked.
Now what makes this recipe so amazing, and I didn’t know this at the beginning of my research, is that Thomas Keller perfected this dish. I told you, Thomas Keller is my food spirit animal (check out this post for another Thomas Keller inspired dish). Once I saw that he was the mastermind behind this plating of a traditional ratatouille, I knew that I had to create my baked ratatouille recipe with elements of Thomas Keller in there.
How to Make Ratatouille (Confit Byaldi)
To create the thin slices that you’ll need with the ratatouille ingredients, you’ll need either a mandoline or a food processor with a slicing attachment. If you’re super confident in your knife skills, you could free hand it. One of the important things to remember is that each slice needs to be the same thickness in order for the whole dish to cook correctly.
I then layered my ratatouille ingredients on a sheet pan, line with a silicone mat, in a few rows. Some people create a casserole and layer the vegetables in a casserole dish but I had a very specific plating in mind, so a baking sheet worked for me.
It is super important to season your vegetables liberally with salt and pepper and a healthy drizzle of olive oil over the top. Eggplants are very absorbent vegetables and will soak up a lot of seasoning. So don’t be shy.
To get the ratatouille ingredients to cook and stay moist in the oven over a 45 minute cooking time, I found it to be important to let the vegetables steam themselves. With other casserole-type ratatouille recipes, the steam would be initiated from the tomato sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish.
However, since I was cooking those two elements separately, I came up with a different idea. Not only would I cover my baking sheet with tin foil, I would first put a layer of plastic wrap over the sheet pan. When the plastic wrap heats in the oven, it creates a vacuum seal with the edge of the sheet pan, thus keeping the steam inside and keeping the vegetables moist.
At the end of cooking, I took both plastic wrap and foil off to allow the vegetables to brown in the oven slightly. All these vegetables needed now was a killer sauce to compliment them.
One of the hardest things to perfect is a homemade, from scratch, tomato sauce. However, as I was researching and came across Chef Keller’s method, I learned that he created not only a tomato sauce but a vinaigrette as well to go on the top of the dish. I combined the two ideas into one and opted to add balsamic vinegar to my tomato and pepper sauce. This not only adds a sweetness that balances out the acidity of the tomatoes but adds a depth of flavor as well.
Another element that produces an incredible amount of flavor in this sauce it what the French call a sachet d’espices. Simply put, a sachet is nothing more that aromatics placed in cheesecloth and tied with butchers twice. A common sachet includes:
- Parsley stems
- Black peppercorns
- Bay leaves
Sometimes people add red pepper flake if they’re feeling daring but I opted out of that.
When I was cooking this sauce, I only had red onions on hand instead of the more popular yellow or white. These onions can be interchangeable but I found that while I was cooking, the red onions leeched some of their colors into the sauce and turned a nice vibrant pink color! So if you’re looking for more than just red and green, the bright pink that the red onions give could be a good option!
The only juice that is in this sauce comes from the tomatoes, so it is crucial that you keep an eye on the sauce so that the ingredients don’t stick and burn to the bottom of the pan. This is a thicker sauce but don’t be tempted to add water; you will get rid of the robust flavor of the sauce the moment extra water is added.
I wanted my sauce to not be super chunky but to be spreadable. Once my tomatoes had all “popped,” I threw in some fresh basil, my balsamic vinegar and blended my sauce with an immersion blender. You could use a standing blender, but why dirty a big blender?
Plating Baked Ratatouille Recipe
Now when it comes to plating, I have two ideas for you. If you were making this confit byaldi recipe for a party, I would plate it very simply so that people could grab what they wanted and put it on their plate. A simple spread of the gorgeous tomato pepper sauce, with a single row of the baked ratatouille vegetables on top, would be beautiful. And garnished with fresh herbs, obviously.
If you’re making this baked ratatouille recipe as part of date night or a dinner setting, you can get all fancy with the plating. This is why I choose to cook my ratatouille on a sheet pan. It was easy for me to grab a part of my baked ratatouille recipe with a fish spatula, manipulate it into a round circle and place it on top of my tomato and pepper sauce. I decided to go over the top and place a smaller round of confit byaldi on top of the bigger circle.
The beauty of this amazing dish is that it can be so versatile in its serving! It can be the main course an appetizer; it can be served hot or cold. Even with some crusty and toasted bread that has some fresh ricotta on the bottom. The world is your oyster!
Give this recipe a whirl and see how you like it! Imagine you’re in Provence eating Ratatouille with some delicious, artisan bread enjoying the sunset! If you’re really feeling the French vibe, be sure to leave a comment with a 5- star rating to let me know that you love it.
As our French friends would say, Bon Appetit!
Baked Ratatouille Recipe
- 1 medium Chinese eggplant, sliced thin
- 1 large yellow squash, sliced thin
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced thin
- 4 roma tomatoes, sliced thin
- To taste salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp olive oil, a little more wouldn’t hurt either)
Tomato and Pepper Sauce
- 2 pints cherry tomatoes
- 1 red bell pepper, small dice
- 1 orange bell pepper, small dice
- 2 ounces tomato paste
- ½ red onion, small dice
- 4 cloves garlic, rough chop
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 sachet d’espice
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 ounce fresh basil
Baked Ratatouille Recipe
- Tomato and Pepper Sauce
- Heat a medium sauce pot over medium heat with olive oil in the bottom of the pan. Add onion and garlic to the oil and saute until translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add tomato paste and allow to caramelize for about 2 minutes.
- Add bell peppers and cook for about 10 minutes or until soft.
- Add cherry tomatoes to the post, along with sachet, lower heat, cover with lid, and cook for about 30 minutes or until all tomatoes have popped. Stir occasionally.
- Once tomatoes have popped. Turn off heat and add basil and vinegar. Blend with an immersion blender and adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.
- Preheat oven to 375. Slice all vegetables thinly with a mandoline or a food processor fitted with a slicing attachment. You’ll want to hand slice the tomatoes, they can be thicker as they will lose a lot of liquid when baked.
- Line a baking sheet with a silicone mat (not parchment paper, this is will make the vegetables soggy) and begin to layer the vegetables alternately. Once vegetables have been layered, drizzle with a healthy amount of olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
- Cover the sheet pan with plastic wrap and aluminum foil and place in preheated oven. Allow to bake for 40 minutes or until eggplant is full cooked. Removed foil and plastic and allow to brown in the oven for 5 minutes. Place tray on the cool stove to cool before plating.
Plating Baked Ratatouille
- Spread some of the tomato and pepper sauce on the bottom of a plate. Take layered vegetables and either lay them on the sauce in a straight row or curve them to create s circle.
Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 6 ounces
Amount Per ServingCalories 214 Total Fat 11g Saturated Fat 2g Trans Fat 0g Unsaturated Fat 9g Cholesterol 0mg Sodium 99mg Carbohydrates 28g Fiber 7g Sugar 16g Protein 5g