Ratatouille is a Provinçal French vegetable stew, which originated in Nice. This dish was a staple meal in my household growing up, which my family continues to enjoy today. While the recipe provided below follows the more classic and ‘fancy’ method of preparation, which is oven baked, my family actually prepares it on the stove, which is the fastest method of preparation. Yet following the following method will result in the perfect side dish to serve when you have guests over, as the colorful pattern of thinly sliced vegetables will make a beautiful addition to your plate/ table.
- 2 yellow squashes
- 2 zucchinis
- 2 eggplants
- 5 tomatoes
- 1 handful fresh basil leaves (or 1 tbsp dried)
- 1 can crushed tomatoes/ sauce
- 2 bell peppers (1 red, 1 yellow)
- 1 medium onion (white)
- 2 garlic cloves
- 1 handful fresh cilantro (or 1 tbsp dried)
- 2 tsp fresh thyme (or 1 tsp dried)
- 2 tbsp olive oil (extra virgin)
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Start by preheating your oven to 180˚C.
- Procede by thinly slicing your vegetables into approximately 1-mm thin rounds. Set aside for now.
- To make the tomato- base, heat up a non-stick skillet (or an oven- safe one) with the olive oil. Sauté the onions, garlic and chopped bell peppers, until soft (about 10 minutes). Once soft, add in the crushed tomatoes along with the salt and pepper. Remove from heat and stir in the fresh chopped basil.
- Transfer to an oven- proof dish (if your skillet was not) and smooth out with a spatula.
- Now, arrange the sliced vegetables in an alternating pattern (i.e; eggplant, zucchini, squash, tomato), and repeat until you’ve filled the entire dish.
- Finally, make the herb sauce by combining the fresh herbs with the olive oil and salt & pepper. Spread it evenly over the vegetables with the use of a cooking brush.
- Cover the dish with some tin/ aluminium foil (in order to prevent the vegetables from drying) and bake in the oven for about 30 minutes. Then, remove the tin foil and bake for another 25 mins.
- Serve hot as a dish or side and enjoy!