Roasted ratatouille with orzo
Inspired by the movie, Ratatouille, Downtime author Nadine Levy Redzepi has revisited this classic dish and given it her personal touch.
2 narrow aubergines, about 680 g
2 large courgettes, about 450 g
6 beefsteak tomatoes
45 g salted butter, at room temperature
60 ml extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves
8 fresh thyme sprigs
3 tsp fresh basil leaves
450 g cherry tomatoes
fine sea salt
450 g orzo
1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan).
2. Trim the aubergines and courgettes and slice off the stem ends of the beefsteak tomatoes. Cut the vegetables into thin slices, about 6 mm for the aubergines and courgettes, and a bit thicker for the tomatoes. Keep the vegetables separate.
3. Butter a 23 to 25 cm round shallow casserole dish or a frying pan with a lid with 15 g of the butter. Drizzle in 2 tsps of the oil. Crush the garlic with the flat side of your knife, then peel the garlic (discard the papery skins) and add it to the casserole along with the thyme sprigs and basil leaves. Halve the cherry tomatoes and gently squeeze them over the baking dish to release their juices and seeds into the pan. Reserve the cherry tomatoes for another use (see below). Using your fingertip, poke out the seed clusters from the sliced beefsteak tomatoes and add them to the baking dish.
4. Alternate the tomato, aubergine and courgette slices in the baking dish in rows, filling the dish all the way to the centre. Drizzle with the remaining 2 tsps oil and season with salt.
5. Bake uncovered for 20 minutes. Cover the casserole and continue baking until the aubergine is a few shades darker, like a strong café latte, and the courgette is an almost translucent, pale and glossy yellowish colour, 20 to 30 minutes more.
6. While the ratatouille is baking, bring a large pan of water to a boil over high heat for the orzo. When the water boils, add a tablespoon or so of salt. Stir in the pasta and cook, stirring every 2 minutes to ensure that it does not stick to the bottom, according to the packet directions until al dente, about 8 minutes, depending on the brand.
7. To warm the pasta serving bowl, place it in the sink and set a colander inside. Drain the pasta in the colander and return it to the cooking pan, letting the hot pasta water stand in the serving bowl for about 30 seconds to warm it. Empty and dry the serving bowl and add the pasta. Stir in the remaining 30 g of butter.
8. To serve, bring the ratatouille to the table in its baking dish. Spoon the orzo into bowls and top each serving with the ratatouille and some of its juices.
This edited excerpt is from Downtime: Deliciousness at Home by Nadine Levy Redzepi, photography by Ditte Isager, published by Ebury Press, and available in all good book stores.