Touted an ‘essential kitchen gadget’ by the New York Times, the sheet pan is a kitchen powerhouse, combining great flavors with easy prep, easy cooking, and easy cleanup. That’s a total win in our house, as time is rarely on our side in the kitchen.
From her book, Sheet Pan Suppers: 120 Recipes for Simple, Surprising, Hands-Off Meals Straight from the Oven (Workman Publishing), French Culinary Institute graduate, educator, and chef, Molly Gilbert, delivers 120 recipes that are sure to please, including easy weeknight meals, sumptuous appetizers and dinner ideas for special occasions, vegetarian entrees, quick brunch dishes, and irresistible desserts. And all you have to do is toss the ingredients on a sheet pan, and pop it in the oven!
Molly graciously shared another one of her favorite recipes with us, a hearty dish of ratatouille, with fresh veggies and goat cheese. If fish is on your list, check out her lemon-herb sole with crusty potatoes recipe here.
From the book:
“Depending on whom you ask, ratatouille is either a popular animated film starring a culinarily-inclined rat named Remy, or a traditional French dish of stewed summer vegetables. Either way, it’s a highly enjoyable experience. Remy (the rat) makes a beautiful version of ratatouille (the dish) in Ratatouille (the movie) with meticulously layered zucchini, eggplant, bell peppers, and tomatoes; I’ve tried to make mine equally beautiful.
My version of ratatouille uses all of the usual vegetable suspects—peppers, eggplant, zucchini, and squash—but I’ve added sliced potatoes to the mix, which I think helps to heft it up. A smattering of soft goat cheese adds even more flavor and texture.
Served with a good crusty bread or over penne pasta or rice, this humble and hearty ratatouille makes for a deeply satisfying vegetarian meal.”
Hearty Ratatouille with Goat Cheese
by Molly Gilbert
- Olive oil cooking spray
- 1 can (12 ounces) tomato puree
- 3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
- 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
- 1 large red bell pepper
- 1 large Chinese eggplant or other long, skinny eggplant (see box, page 154)
- 1 large zucchini
- 1 large yellow squash
- 3 or 4 smallish Yukon gold potatoes, unpeeled (about 3/4 pound)
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 4 ounces soft goat cheese
- 1 tablespoon roughly chopped fresh basil leaves
- Crusty bread, for serving
1. Preheat the oven to 375°F with one rack about 4 inches from the broiler and another rack in the center position. Mist a sheet pan with cooking spray.
2. Dump the tomato puree onto the prepared sheet pan. Add the garlic, onion, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and toss together to combine. Use a rubber spatula to spread the puree evenly over the pan, distributing the garlic and onion throughout and pushing the sauce into the corners of the pan. Drop the butter cubes over all, spacing them evenly apart.
3. Cut off the top of the pepper, and carefully pull out the seeds and membrane. Use a sharp knife to slice the pepper into 1⁄8– to 1/4-inch-thick rounds, then slice the rounds into thirds—you’ll end up with a bunch of small curved pepper pieces.
4. Trim the ends off the eggplant, zucchini, and squash. Slice each into thin rounds, 1⁄8- to 1/4-inch thick. Slice the potatoes into rounds of the same thickness.
5. Carefully arrange the vegetables over the tomato sauce and butter, overlapping them in a deliberate pattern going from short end to short end of the pan. You’ll be able to see a bit of tomato sauce at the sides of the pan, but the vegetable layer should be tight enough that you don’t see much.
6. Drizzle the vegetables with the olive oil, sprinkle with the thyme and an extra pinch each of salt and pepper. Bake the ratatouille on the center rack until the vegetables are tender and the tomato sauce is bubbling up at the edges, 30 to 40 minutes.
7. Remove the pan from the oven and turn the oven to broil. Break the goat cheese into large crumbles and scatter them evenly over the ratatouille. Broil to gently melt the cheese, about 1 minute.
8. Sprinkle the chopped basil on top of the ratatouille and serve warm with plenty of crusty bread for scooping up the vegetables and sauce.