Ratatouille, now there’s a blast from the past! My mother used to make this regularly in the 80s when it was fashionable and I thought it was so fancy. She used a recipe from a huge Marguerite Patten cookbook that she got as a wedding present.
I hadn’t really thought about it in years. Then it seemed to pop up everywhere this Summer on social media. We went for a meal recently and it was served as a side on himself’s roast chicken dish. I was taken down memory lane and had to try to recreate the recipe from my childhood. It’s a real summer dish but I think we can all so with some sunshine at any time of the year.
Ratatouille is a French stew, originating in Provence, made up of tomatoes, onion, garlic, courgette, aubergine, peppers and herbs. This method is how I remember it being made. There are many recipes where the vegetables are roasted first before being added to the sauce. I’m sure that adds a lovely flavour but I like to keep it simple. There is also a popular more modern take where the vegetables are sliced thinly and arranged in concentric circles, beautiful but time consuming!
Useful tips & links:
- Traditionally this is made with fresh diced tomatoes. In the summer in Ireland that is fine but outside of that it has to be tinned for proper sweetness.
- The herbs are usually thyme, rosemary and bay but I find rosemary can be a little overpowering so I leave it out.
- This is lovely on it’s own but I usually like it as a side for a roast, as above with grilled lamb and potato gratin. It is also great with white fish.
- Alternative servings can be on toast, with poached eggs or even spread on a pastry base for a tasty tart. I’ve seen it served with pasta or rice too.
- It is ready for eating in an hour but I like to make it in advance and let the flavours develop overnight in the fridge before reheating.
- There is a lot of chopping involved in this, so make a big batch and freeze individual portions for later.
- You can change up the herbs for different flavours or even add some spices but I like to keep this classic. But then I eat a lot of spicy food so this makes a nice change.
- For a more authentic recipe for Ratatouille, have a look at Katia’s recipe on Proper Food.
- For a substantial meat free meal, this is delicious on the side of my Cheese Courgette and Spinach Filo Pie or on the side of these Loaded Twice Baked Potatoes, without the bacon!
Makes one large pot
- Olive oil
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
- 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Salt and pepper
- 1 large aubergine
- 2 courgettes
- 2 red peppers
- 600g chopped tomatoes
- A splash of red wine vinegar
- Fresh parsley to garnish
- Heat the olive oil in a heavy wide pan or casserole dish on a medium heat and fry the onion until it softens but don’t let it brown.
- Tie the thyme and bay leaves together and when the onion is soft add the herbs and the garlic to the onions. Season with salt and pepper and stir and cook for another couple of minutes.
- Meanwhile chop the aubergine, peppers and courgettes to roughly the same size. Add them to the pan with the onions and herbs, cover and cook over a gentle heat for 15 minutes or until they soften.
- Add the tinned tomatoes, vinegar and a little sugar. Turn up the heat until the tomatoes are about to boil, then cover the dish and turn it down to allow the veg to simmer in the tomato sauce.
- Simmer the ratatouille for 30 – 45 minutes, stirring occasionally so that it doesn’t stick.
- Taste and season with more salt and pepper as needed. Now the ratatouille is ready to serve or refrigerate until later. Remove the thyme and bay leaves before serving and garnish with fresh parsley.