Ratatouille au Gratin Paired with Chianti or Pinot Blanc

Ratatouille au Gratin

How to Cook Two Meals at Once

Hosting adults is one thing. Hosting families is another. While children aren’t exactly demanding when it comes to decoration and music, they can be extremely picky with food.

This typically leaves you with two options: “dumb down” your entire meal to accommodate everyone or make an entirely different meal for the kids. But here’s a third, far-better alternative: a ratatouille au gratin for the adults, which turns into a delicious spaghetti sauce for the kids.

The beauty of this meal is that you are minimizing time and effort spent, while maximizing the chances of pleasing your guests. The ratatouille is delicious, and the inclusion of crowd-pleasers, like Canadian Parmesan and Mozzarella, makes a spaghetti sauce the kids will love.

Since my food-pairing talents involve mostly wine (I’m not a licensed juice-box specialist yet), I’m only going to suggest pairings for the adults enjoying the ratatouille.

If you are a red drinker, I would go for a very dry, slightly spicy Chianti with a nice acidity, such as a medium-bodied Frescobaldi Castiglioni Chianti DOCG or a Ruffino Chianti DOCG. As for white wine, avoid big, full-bodied wines. Instead, complement the stew with a slightly spicy wine, such as a dry Konzelmann Pinot Blanc VQA or a mineral Trumpour’s Mill Pinot Gris VQA, both local Canadian wines.

Happy hosting!

Ingredients:

1 tbsp (15 ml) butter
1 small onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup (250 ml) butternut squash, finely diced
1 zucchini, finely diced
½ red bell pepper, finely diced
1 cup (250 ml) mushrooms, quartered
½ eggplant, finely diced
salt
freshly ground pepper
2 plum tomatoes, finely diced
2 tbsp (30 ml) fresh basil, chopped
¼ (1 ml) to 1/2 tsp (2 ml) chili peppers, crushed
2 cups (500 ml) cooked rice, pasta, millet, quinoa or spaghetti squash
1½ cups (375 ml) Canadian Mozzarella, grated
¼ cup (60 ml) Canadian Parmesan, grated

Instructions:

In a saucepan, melt butter and brown onion, garlic and squash for 5 minutes. Add zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms and eggplant. Cook 5–7 minutes. Season. Incorporate tomatoes and half of basil. Turn off heat and let rest with lid on for 1 minute. Add crushed chili peppers.

Pour over cooked rice, pasta, millet, quinoa or spaghetti squash. Top with Mozzarella and Parmesan, brown in oven and serve with remaining basil.

Ratatouille au Gratin for Kids  

Ingredients:

1 small zucchini, finely diced
½ red bell pepper, finely diced
½ cup (125 ml) mushrooms, quartered
1 small eggplant, finely diced
1 plum tomato, finely diced
1 tbsp (15 ml) fresh basil, chopped
¾ cup (180 ml) tomato or vegetable juice
¼ cup (60 ml) tomato paste
½ (125 ml) to 1 cup (250 ml) cooked rice or pasta
1½ cups (375 ml) Canadian Mozzarella, grated
salt
freshly ground pepper

Instructions:

In a saucepan, melt butter and brown onion, garlic and squash for 5 minutes. Add zucchini, bell pepper, mushrooms and eggplant. Cook 5–7 minutes. Season. Incorporate tomato and basil. Turn off heat and let rest with lid on for 1 minute.

Purée the ratatouille in a food processor or blender. Add tomato or vegetable juice and tomato paste. Blend until it resembles spaghetti sauce. Pour over cooked rice or pasta.

Top with Mozzarella and melt in oven.

Tips
Serving suggestion: Pour over a slice of toasted bread instead of rice or pasta.

Variations:
Canadian Mild Cheddar, Swiss cheese.

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