The Ratatouille is a Provencal vegetable stew that can take in countless variations and spices. It’s a very flexible recipe with the traditional purpose of making the most out of any vegetables the cook has at hand.
Based on tomatoes, eggplants and bell peppers, with garlic, onion and spices, this Ratatouille recipe is pretty much a modern-classic. Only the addition of mushrooms brings a little richness to it, but without making the Ratatouille richer in calories!
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Ratatouille Recipe Tags & Times
Ratatouille Recipe Instructions
Wash and scrub all the vegetables
Dice the green bell pepper and the eggplant; quarter the mushrooms; slice the zucchini lengthwise in quarters, then cut the quarters in short segments; place them all in a single bowl, sprinkle with a pinch of salt, mix them with hand, then set aside
Peel, seed and dice the tomatoes in small pieces and set aside in another bowl (or drain and dice if you bought them canned)
Chop the parsley and the basil and set aside in another bowl
Chop the onion and the garlic cloves and set aside in another bowl
Heat the olive oil in a large enough pot
When olive oil is hot add in the chopped onion and garlic and stir lightly until the onion turn translucent, about 5 minutes (use a wooden spoon / spatula for this)
At this time add the tomato puree; stir and press the puree in the pot to spread evenly and cover the garlic and onion
After a minute or two the garlic-onion-tomato mixture will start to brown and will slightly change its smell - now add the chicken stock and stir until it begins to simmer
Use your wooden spoon / spatula scrub the pot bottom to release any browned onion or garlic
Add the diced green bell pepper, eggplant, mushrooms and zucchini and *lightly* stir to combine
Cook on low heat, stirring now and then to distribute the heat evenly
The vegetables will release their liquids in the pot and all Ratatouille ingredients will slowly simmer in this liquid. Adjust the heat so it doesn't really boil, just simmer lightly. Stir from time to time so all ingredients get in contact with the simmering liquid
After 10-11 minutes of cooking start checking the ingredients firmness: cook until all vegetables are tender but *not mushy*, except the eggplant which will be mostly falling apart at this time
Now it's time to add the diced tomatoes and stir in lightly
Cook for 2 - 3 minutes, until the tomatoes are well heated, then add the chopped parsley and basil and season with salt and pepper to taste
Serve hot in a warm, thick plate, over steamed rice or on its own; or serve it at room temperature, with freshly toasted bread slices (in the summer)!
Ratatouille Recipe Tips & Tricks
The most important two hacks for the Ratatouille recipe are the dicing size and the pre-salting of vegetables. The best balanced size when dicing the vegetables is to cut them in ~1 cm / 1/2 inch pieces, and sprinkle a good amount of salt over them in bowl, before cooking them.
Another method often called by many Ratatouille recipes is to stew each vegetable separately, then combine them at the end - however I found that the difference in taste and texture is small enough for my taste and I don't do it this way.
As for variations, a pretty interesting Ratatouille can be made by slicing the vegetables and bake them in a casserole, like this gorgeous looking recipe. Or go even further and try this Ratatouille recipe with italian sausages and mozzarella!