I have cooked my whole life starting in the soup kitchen that my parents started in Northern California when I was a child. I went to culinary school right out of high school and upon graduating moved back to Northern California where I worked for Thomas Keller at Bouchon. That restaurant opened my eyes to a whole different world of creativity and discipline. While later working at Per Se, I actually made a version of this dish that we called confit imam bayildi. It was so fun to recreate this dish again in honor of the movie, "Ratatouille," which I love because, honestly, I relate to it.
Pre-heat the oven to 450 F. Cut bell peppers in half and remove the seeds. Place cut-side down on a sheet tray and bake until skin is blistered, about 15 minutes. Remove and let cool. Once the bell peppers are cooled, peel the skin off and dice the same size as the onion.2.
While the bell peppers are cooking, heat the olive oil in a medium pot, add the onions, shaved garlic and 1 teaspoon salt. Cook on medium heat until soft but no color. Add the fennel seed and toast for 30 seconds with the onions. Add the bell peppers and the other teaspoon of salt. Cook on medium for about five minutes, until the moisture has cooked out from the peppers.3.
Chop your drained tomatoes and add them to the pot and cook on low for 30 minutes, until tomatoes have melted and the sauce is thick with little liquid.4.
Spread the sauce in a 6- by 9-inch casserole dish with a lid (or you can use foil). Place torn basil on top of sauce.5.
Toss the shaved squash and tomatoes with the olive oil, salt and thyme, keeping each one separate. Shingle the zucchini, squash, Japanese eggplant and tomato, alternating each one over the sauce.6.
Cover the whole dish with the squash. Top with fresh cracked pepper and bake at 350 F, covered, for 45 minutes. Remove the lid (or foil) and bake at 400 F for 30 more minutes, until liquid has cooked out and squash is tender.7.
Let rest for 10 minutes so that all of the juices can settle.8.
Take one row of the ratatouille and using a spoon, place the roasted pepper sauce on the center of the plate. Circle the squash over the sauce and drizzle with olive oil and fresh cracked black pepper. Sprinkle with torn basil, serve and enjoy like Remy would!