Sunday, August 29, 2010

Dinner and A Show: "Ratatouille"

For those who have never seen Disney Pixar's Ratatouille - I highly recommend it!  Not only is it family friendly (made, of course, for those little ones), but like most computer animated movies, it has content that is entertaining for adults.  Ratatouille also features some pretty interesting wines... and some interesting ways to make or serve ratatouille!

If you have never seen the movie - here's a scene that highlights a wine moment (note, this scene is near the end of the movie):

It was brought to my attention, by a very dear wine friend of mine, that there was a wine error in the original Ratatouille, as shown in theaters:
At the end of the movie, one of the main characters asks for a 1947 Cheval Blanc (âteau_Cheval_Blanc). Chateau Cheval Blanc is a winery in France, and in 1947 it apparently produced a wine that put the estate on the map.  (Today, one bottle is worth about $5000.)  Anyway, in the original movie, the label was wrong - it wasn't a 1947 Cheval Blanc, it was some other estate.  So many viewers caught the mistake and contacted Pixar that the label was changed for the DVD edition.

Another fun wine fact about Ratatouille (as found on IMDB):
"Disney and Pixar were planning to bring a French produced Ratatouille branded wine to Costco stores. That was until the California Wine Institute complained, suggesting that a wine sporting cartoon characters would only encourage under-age drinking." 

Anyway, the point is - here's a budget friendly family night (or date night if no kids are involved!):
1) Rent or purchase Ratatouille
2) Make up your own version of ratatouille (my edited recipe follows at the end of this post - it's gotten some rave reviews in my house recently)
3) Grab a bottle of budget friendly wine (perhaps a Pinot Grigio or even a nice Cotes du Rhone if you prefer reds - you can often find some $10-12 Cotes du Rhones in most wine stores/grocery stores) and enjoy your ratatouille while watching Ratatouille!

There you go!  Wine entertainment that makes the whole family happy.  Plus, it encourages kids to eat some veggies in that fun sort of way!  Super bonus - the only "time consuming" part of making ratatouille is cutting the veggies:

Denise's Ratatouille (edited from Emeril's recipe on
1 yellow onion
2-3 large cloves of garlic
~1/4 cup of olive oil
1 egg plant, cut into small cubes (with skin)
~1 tsp. of fresh cut thyme
1 zucchini, cut into small cubes (with skin)
1 bell pepper, cut into small pieces
2 cups of small heirloom tomatoes, cut into halves with the skin
salt to taste
pepper to taste
~1/4 cup of fresh cut basil and parsley

1) Heat oil in pan or large skillet.  I prefer a large pan.
2) Add garlic and onions.  Allow onions to slightly caramelize by cooking for about 5 minutes.
3) Add egg plant and thyme.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
4) Add zucchini and bell pepper.  Cook for an additional 5 minutes.
5) Add salt and pepper.  Then add the halved tomatoes.  Cook for an additional 3 minutes.
6) Add basil and parsley.  Cook for remaining 2 minutes.  Serve in bowls and enjoy!
Secrets that make this recipe superb:  Adding the small (grape-sized) heirloom tomatoes (they are in season right now!) adds a whole different dimension to this recipe as each tomato tastes different.  We get 3 little pint-sized baskets of little heirloom tomatoes, halve each wine and add to the ratatouille with the skins (which usually isn't suggested).  Also, I use all fresh-cut herbs from my herbal garden.  You can create your own or buy fresh herbs from the grocery store (all they are better if you cut them and cook them right away).  For the basil, I used 4 types and mixed them all into the ratatouille: Italian (regular) basil, sweet basil, Thai basil, and purple-leafed basil.  Yum...  If you want to add some meat, I suggest heart-healthy sea scallops!  We love that combination.  Enjoy!


  1. What a lovely idea! I especially like the suggestion of adding scallops!

  2. I have the DVD, but I've never seen the movie (That's right! ME! Disney nut that I am have not seen this movie yet) O ...M....G....!I guess now I have a reason though. This blog gets better and better every day. Now it has recipes! Woo Hoo!

  3. The movie is really cute. I very much enjoyed it. The scallops, on the other hand, are a perfect combination. I thoroughly enjoyed those when we made them myself!

    Thanks for the support!