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November 29, 2022

Ratatouille

Provençal Vegetable Stew- Delicious, Divine and Simple to Repurpose

Ratatouille ina baking dish ready to preapre with clafoutis batter
Ratatouille 16

Ratatouille is one of my favorite movies and one of my favorite recipes. Ratatouille is a French vegetable stew from the Provence region in the south of France. The recipe and ingredients are so simple it may not seem like an impressive dish. However, when these vegetables simmer together, they create an exceptional flavor. The taste is just divine. There are also many ways to serve Ratatouille. You can eat it cold or warm, alone or mixed with pasta or eggs. In the notes below, I have some serving suggestions for you. Making this ratatouille recipe is easy, but it requires some chopping, so I've included some tips below to help you.

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Ratatouille

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Ingredients

Scale

3 lbs. fresh tomatoes, peeled and chopped

4 cloves of fresh garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup of parsley, chopped

About 25 basil leaves torn into pieces

Olive oil

1 1/2- 2 lbs. onion thinly sliced

1 green bell pepper chopped into one-inch pieces

2 red pepper chopped into one-inch pieces

2 1/2 lb zucchini and or yellow squash chopped

2- 3 lb eggplant, chopped

Sea Salt

Instructions

Prepare and chop the tomatoes. Only use fresh tomatoes; canned tomatoes will not offer the same flavor. To prepare the tomatoes the skin must be removed. Start with removing the core from the tomato by cutting around it. If you are using Roma tomatoes, you do not need to cut out the core. Instead, cut an X on top of the tomato.

This will help the skin to separate from the tomato. Submerge the tomatoes in boiling water and let them boil for a few minutes until the skin starts to peel back. Remove the tomatoes from the water and once cool enough to handle, remove the skin. Dice the tomatoes.

Place the diced tomatoes, garlic, parsley, basil, and 1/3 cup olive oil in a soup pot and simmer for 30 minutes.

In a frying pan, add about 1 ½ tablespoons of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt. When the oil is warm, add the onions and sauté the onions for about 10 - 12 minutes or until soft.

Stir frequently. Do not let the onions brown. Add the onions to the soup pot after the tomatoes have simmered for the 30 minutes.

In the same frying pan that you used to cook the onions, add more olive oil—about 1 1 /2 tbsp—and another pinch of sea salt. Sauté the peppers for 10 - 12 minutes or until soft. Stir frequently. Add the peppers to the soup pot.

In the same frying pan that you used to cook the peppers, add more olive oil—about 1 1 /2 tbsp and another pinch of sea salt. Add the zucchini and sauté for about 10 - 12 minutes or until soft. Stir frequently. Add to the soup pot.

In the same frying pan that you used to cook the peppers, add more olive oil—about 3 tbsp—and another pinch of sea salt. You will need to add more olive oil to cook the eggplant.

Eggplant is like a sponge and will soak up the oil quickly. The extra olive oil will help the eggplant cook and add to the flavor of this dish. Sauté the eggplant for about 10 - 12 minutes or until soft.

I often cover the frying pan with a lid halfway through cooking the eggplant. This will create moisture and help the eggplant cook without the need to add too much oil. If you cover the eggplant, let it fry for a few minutes first. Frying each vegetable is what gives this version of ratatouille so much rich flavor. Add the zucchini to the soup pot.

Let simmer for at least 30 minutes for the flavors to marry. Ratatouille is always better the next day and even better the day after. 

Notes

Serving Ideas;

Serve warm or cold

Ratatouille cooking in a pot

Top with more fresh basil or a dollop of pesto

Serve on bruschetta

Toss with pasta for a main dish

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Make a clafoutis

A Ratatouille clafoutis baked and ready to serve

Use as a pizza topping

Toss with leftover chicken

Bake with eggs

Toss with Italian sausage or merguez- a spicy lamb sausage.

Serve in verrines for a party. You can find the verrines on Amazon. They are also splendid for desserts.  

ratatouille in verrines 1

Pot de Crème in verrines

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Ratatouille is delicious with any combination of bell peppers. Red, green, yellow, and orange are all good. I prefer red and green. Same with the squash and zucchini. You can use yellow squash and/or zucchini. I prefer to use zucchini at least, and then I often add some yellow squash as well. 

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I often cook "au pif," as we say in France, which means cooking without an exact recipe and by "feel" using your intuition.  You’ll often find guidelines in many recipes versus exact quantities.  Write to me here if you have any questions about the recipes.

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