Nothing describes summer bounty better than this hearty and easy Ratatouille. This delicious and fragrant dish originated in the south of France and is permeated by Mediterranean influence of richly colored vegetables, aromatic herbs and olive oil.
If your garden is overflowing with vegetables, this easy Ratatouille recipe is just right for you. If you don’t have a garden well, the farmers’ market has all that you need for this dish and more. I must say this year my garden is producing way too many tomatoes for me to keep up with eating them in salads. Oh, and let me not forget my huge thyme, basil and oregano bushes. The best thing about growing herbs is drying and preserving them for the winter season; but I’ll leave this topic for another post.
When I say making Ratatouille is so easy, believe me it is. All the hands on work, cutting and sautéing the vegetables takes about 15 minutes. Please don’t rush making this dish by combining all the raw vegetables at once in a pot or you’ll end up with a mushy and unappealing stew. I have also seen a version of Ratatouille where the vegetables are baked in the oven. However, I prefer cooking each vegetable separately, in a bit of olive oil in a pot, as some of the vegetables in this dish cook quicker than others. Then I add all cooked vegetables to the already simmering mixture of onions, garlic, tomatoes, herbs and let it simmer for a few more minutes for the flavors to melt together.
Ratatouille can be served warm or at room temperature. It does keep well for a few days in the refrigerator and can be properly frozen for later use. It’s a hearty and delicious vegetable stew on its own, and it also makes an excellent filling for an egg omelet.
- 1 large onion diced
- 4 tablespoons of olive oil, plus more as needed
- 8 cloves of garlic minced
- 1 (15 oz) can of diced tomatoes
- 1 bay leaf
- 4 sprigs of thyme
- ⅓ cup of basil leaves chopped
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 large eggplant diced
- 2 medium zucchini diced
- 2 peppers (orange, red, or green) diced
- In a pan, sauté the onions and garlic in 2 tablespoons of olive oil until the onions are lightly caramelized, add the tomatoes and season with salt and pepper to taste. Add the bay leaf, chopped basil and sprigs of thyme and simmer about 30 minutes.
- In another pan, heat a bit of the olive oil (add oil as needed to brown all vegetables) and brown, individually, the eggplant, then the zucchini and lastly the peppers until cooked through but remaining firm. Combine the browned vegetables to the simmering onion, garlic, tomato and herb mixture and cook for an additional 5 minutes. Stir well to combine and serve warm or at room temperature.