This ratatouille recipe should be part of your summer cooking rotation. It’s simple to make, packed with flavor, and just as good eaten cold the next day as it is served hot.
Traditional ratatouille from Provence is made with zucchini, eggplant, sweet peppers, and tomatoes. Sometimes referred to as a vegetable stew, it’s very adaptable. Use yellow squash if you don’t have zucchini. Out of yellow onion? White onion is fine. And if you are looking for a bit of heat, add red pepper flakes.
To prepare a classic ratatouille start by cooking the tomatoes (even the canned ones) until boiled down to a thick sauce. Next, sauté the vegetables in batches. Finally, put everything together, stir in fresh herbs, and adjust the seasoning. When it’s ready, finish the ratatouille with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve it as a side dish to grilled steak at a cookout, with pasta as a vegetarian main course, for breakfast with a jammy egg, or on good crusty bread for a snack. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator—they will hold for a few days.
RatatouilleCourse: Vegetables, SidesCuisine: FrenchDifficulty: Medium
Ratatouille is a chunky summer vegetable stew, rich with olive oil and fragrant with garlic and herbs.
1 kg / 2.2 lbs sun-ripened tomatoes, alternatively 800 g / 28 oz canned whole tomatoes with juice
1 large onion, chopped into small cubes
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bay leaf
1 green bell pepper, ribs and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
2 red bell peppers, ribs and seeds removed, coarsely chopped
3 zucchini, coarsely chopped
2 large eggplants, coarsely chopped
1/3 of a bunch each of flat-leaf parsley and basil
Freshly ground pepper
- Score the tomatoes crosswise and place them in a large bowl. Pour in enough boiling hot water to have all tomatoes submerged, and let them stand briefly until skin starts peeling off. Drain, peel, and cut the tomatoes into small cubes, removing the stalks and collecting the juice. In a large pot, sauté the onion and a third of the garlic. Stir in the tomatoes with all their juice, add bay leaf, and season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Let the tomatoes simmer uncovered over low heat for about 40 minutes. Stir constantly so that as much liquid as possible evaporates and a thick sauce has developed. Depending on how acidic the tomatoes are, season the sauce with a little sugar towards the end of the cooking time.
- Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large pan or skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the eggplant and cook stirring constantly until it begins to take color. Add some garlic and season with salt and pepper. Add 2-4 tablespoons of water (this way the eggplant will cook without sticking to the bottom of the pan and needing more oil), stir, and let simmer until tender. Transfer to a medium bowl. Repeat with 2 tablespoons olive oil and the remaining eggplant.
- For the zucchini and bell peppers, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil per batch in the same pan and cook the vegetables until tender and slightly browned. Add the remaining garlic, season with salt and pepper, and cook briefly while stirring. Transfer to a bowl.
- Add reserved vegetables, including all the juices, to the pot with the tomato sauce and cook, covered, over low heat for another 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and freshly ground pepper. Rinse and shake dry parsley and basil, pluck off the leaves, chop roughly, and stir into the ratatouille. When it’s ready, finish the ratatouille with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve it as a side dish to grilled steak at a cookout, with pasta as a vegetarian main course, for breakfast with a jammy egg, or on good crusty bread for a snack. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator—they will hold for a few days.