Saturday, February 23, 2013

Ratatouille with Whole Wheat Bread Sticks

  You know that adorable Pixar movie with the rat who cooks, right?  You know, Ratatouille?  It's one of my favorite Pixar movies ever.

   Today, I made dinner.  And not just any dinner.  I made ratatouille.  Ratatouille is a delicious French dish made with a bunch of colorful veggies.  Here, the ingredients are the same as the classic French recipe, but the presentation imitates the ratatouille made in the Pixar movie.  It's actually really easy to make (after all, a rat can make it) and even easier if you have a madoline to cut the veggies with.  You need really thin slices of vegetables to make them nice and tender.  Who knew vegetables could taste so flavorful and good?  This would be perfect to make in the summer, when all the veggies are fresh and in season.

    With the ratatouille, I made some nice, soft bread sticks.  I love bread.  These bread sticks are fancy enough for a restaurant, and are quick and easy to make.  They are flavorful, chewy, and healthy!  I used some flax seed to replace some of the oil,  and whole wheat flour.  The dough is pretty much the same as pizza dough. I think that you could use any pizza dough recipe to make bread sticks, and I'm sure that a lot of restaurants use the same recipe for their bread and pizza.  You can twist the ropes of dough into different shapes, like letters, stars, or knots.  And after you brush the sticks with egg wash, you can sprinkle different toppings on, like parmesan or salt.
     This is perfect served over couscous.  This time, I used the out-of-the-box kind to save time.  You can serve the ratatouille over any grain you want, and it's especially delicious with some feta cheese crumbled on top.


Makes 4-6 servings
adapted from Smitten Kitchen


1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
2 tbs olive oil
1 small, skinny eggplant
1 small zucchini
1 small yellow squash
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
a few sliced portabella mushrooms
salt and pepper
fresh or dried thyme


  1. Preheat oven to 375*F
  2. In an oval-shaped baking dish about 10 inches across, combine the tomato past, onion, garlic, and one tablespoon of oil.  Spread evenly around the dish.  
  3. Thinly slice the vegetables (excluding mushrooms) to about 1/16th of an inch.  Arrange in a swirl shape around the baking dish, alternating vegetables. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of oil on top, and season with salt and pepper. Then sprinkle on thyme.
  4. Cut a piece of parchment paper to cover the dish.
  5. Bake for 45-55 minutes, until the veggies are tender and the sauce is bubbling.  

Whole Wheat Bread Sticks

makes 16-32 bread sticks depending on size
adapted from Bread World


1 cup warm water (about 115*F)
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbs honey
2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbs vegetable oil
1 large egg
2-1/2 to 3-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 tbs vital wheat gluten
3 tbs ground flax seeds
1/3 cup dry milk powder

1 egg white+ 1 tbs water, beaten together (for egg wash)
parmesan, salt, garlic salt (for sprinkling, optional)


  1. Dissolve salt and honey in the water in a large bowl and sprinkle yeast on top.  Let sit 5 minutes. stir in egg and oil.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine 2-1/2 cups flour, gluten, flax, and milk powder.  Slowly add to wet ingredients while stirring to form a soft dough.  
  3. On a floured surface, knead dough until stretchy and smooth, adding flour as necessary.  It will be just a little bit sticky.  It takes about 10 minutes to knead. Cover with plastic wrap and let sit 10 minutes for the gluten to develop.
  4. Roll into a rectangle about 8" x 12" in dimensions.  Using a pizza cutter or knife, cut into 16 long strips about 1/2 inch wide.  Take each strip and twist into desired shape (you can cut each strip in half if you want shorter bread sticks). Place on a greased baking sheet and cover with plastic wrap.  Let rise for 1-2 hours.  
  5. Preheat oven to 375*F.  Brush dough with egg wash and sprinkle on toppings if desired. Bake for 14-18 minutes, until golden brown.  


  1. Oh yum! My mom makes ratatouille stew, and it is one of my favorite dishes. However, when it is made in a big ramekin like this, it looks so beautiful!