Sunday, April 22, 2012

Beautiful Baked Ratatouille **OXO GIVEAWAY (U.S. Readers only!)*

A few months ago, I was combing the internet for ratatouille recipes, and came across Smitten Kitchen's version of the baked ratatouille featured in Disney's Ratatouille.  You know the one: the spirals of colorful eggplant, zucchini, yellow squash and red peppers that cause the cynical food critic to recall the carefree days of his childhood, when a dish of warm ratatouille, made by his mother, had the power to sooth all ills.

Thanks to the acquisition of an OXO Good Grips Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer (for free from OXO, I might add) and the opportunity to test said mandoline slicer as part of OXO's Healthy Eating product promotion, I had the perfect tool to make the thin slices required for this baked ratatouille dish.

I was pretty excited to get my OXO hand-held mandoline slicer in the mail.  I love my chef's knives and am very proud over my steadily improving skill with chopping and slicing.  But I'm not very good at uniformity, and had been sort of wanting a mandoline slicer for a while now.  I hope my readers are excited about this product, too, because OXO actually sent me TWO slicers - one for me to test and keep, and one to giveaway to a reader in the United States (more on the giveaway in a moment).

There are a lot of great things about the OXO hand-held slicer.  It has an ergonomic handle to reduce strain and fatigue in your wrist.  There's a non-slip edge on the top of the slicer, so it won't go sliding around your cutting surface - plus there's a little "notch" in this edge so you can set it over a bowl and slice directly into salads, sauces, or what ever else you might be making.  It has a food holder to protect your fingers.  There are three settings for the cutting edge, and you can lock the slicer so the sharp blade isn't hanging out for all and sundry to accidentally cut themselves on.

Perhaps my favorite part is the fact that it's dishwasher safe.  After my foray into ratatouille, and later sweet potato fries, there was a little bit of staining on the white plastic, but it came off pretty easily with just a touch of "elbow grease."

While the pros of this product are vast (easier to store than a traditional mandoline slicer, the non-slip features, the bent handle to reduce wrist fatigue), it's not a perfect product.  Though, to be perfectly honest, I only had one major complaint.  The food holder has plastic pegs that don't really stick very well in the food you're trying to slice, so unless you're using somewhat small pieces of vegetables or fruit, you're going to have trouble keeping the holder on the food.  It would have been a better design to have stainless steel pegs that would actually puncture the flesh of the vegetables I was trying to slice.  I had to hold the vegetables in my hand until they were small enough to use the food holder.

Check out this little YouTube video of mine (I apologize for the somewhat bad sound and video, my microphone and camera aren't the best quality) for a demonstration.

I'll get to the recipe for my ratatouille after the jump break, but first, let me tell you about the giveaway!

One lucky reader in the United States (sorry, international fans!) will become the owner of the second OXO Good Grips Hand-Held Mandoline Slicer in my possession!  All you have to do is leave a comment on this post, telling me what you like about the mandoline slicer and what you would use it for if you won.

The winner will be chosen via a random integer generator.  The giveaway will end at midnight, Eastern standard time, on Monday, May 21st.  Only residents of the continental United States are eligible for this particular giveaway.

Now, keep reading for the scoop on that ratatouille!

To begin, I selected two small eggplants (I used graffiti eggplant), two medium zucchini, two medium yellow squash, and a medium red pepper.

I sliced each vegetable up with my OXO hand-held mandoline slicer.

I poured about a cup and a half of tomato sauce into a 2-quart casserole, and then tossed in a diced onion and two cloves of minced garlic.

I arranged the slices of vegetables in over the sauce, beginning with a layer on the bottom and then concentric circles, the slices overlapping.

Then I drizzled the whole thing with olive oil and sprinkled thyme over the top.  Then I cut a piece of parchment paper just slightly smaller than my casserole and laid it over the top, tucking the edges in as best I could.

The ratatouille needed to bake for about 45-55 minutes on 375, until the sauce was bubbly and the vegetables were tender, but not mushy.

You could serve this over noodles or rice, but we just ate it straight up with some crescent rolls on the side.  My husband (who has a textural issue with overcooked vegetables) was skeptical, but he thoroughly enjoyed this dish.  It's time consuming and a little fussy, but it's pretty enough to serve to company.  We were able to get four main course servings out of this recipe, but it could go farther if being served as a side dish.


  1. I have never owned a mandoline slicer before, but have always wanted one. If I won I would make so many things. I would slice cucumbers, potatoes, eggs, squash, etc.

  2. I like that you can slice veggies so thinly. I would loveto make ratatouille with this slicer. Mmm!

  3. It wasn't until I stumbled on this blog that I even knew this type of slicer was available. So cool! I'd use it to slice veggies all the time. Let's just say I'm not a graceful food cutter/slicer. Your recipe looks yummy too!

  4. I would become a slicing machine! Hopefully not my fingers! Eggs for sure, cucumbers and definitely this recipe!

  5. I have recently started clean eating lifestyle. Trying to get my 6 year old to is hard. This would be a great way to slice up veggies and make them look more appetizing to her. I love making roasted veggies but I'm not the best slicer either lol this would be a handy gadget to have in the kitchen.

  6. I Love how small it is, a lot of Mandolin's take up tons of space in the cabinet and have too many tricky things to make it work. This looks easy to use and something that I would use on a regular basis to cut vegetables for stir fry, grilling, and salads! Yum!