Ratatouille is an old French classic developed by farmers in Provencal France. It was considered to be "peasant food" because it's mostly comprised of a mish mosh of leftover summer vegetables. Although I generally reinvent most classics, I have left this one completely untouched, because I think it's simply divine as is. I love this recipe because it's abundantly flavorful and can basically be applied to almost anything. It's absurdly easy to make because it requires few ingredients, little precision and less than 30 minutes to cook.
There are several variations of the recipe, but essentially the goal is to have approximately 8 cups of vegetables that roast down into a thick stew. I personally did not have any eggplant on hand when creating my version, so I supplemented with more peppers and zucchini that ordinarily called for.
Again, the recipe can compliment almost any dish as a thick sauce, topping or side. It can be served warm, but I prefer it cold. The longer it sits in the refrigerator, the more the flavors will marry.
servings: several (approximately 4 cups)
total time: 45 mins
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium sized yellow onion, sliced thinly
- 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped
- 2 cups zucchini, roughly chopped in cubes (1-2 zucchini depending on size)
- 2 cups bell pepper, diced in 1inch pieces (about 2 peppers)
- 2 cups tomato, roughly chopped in cubes (about 2-3 medium sized tomatoes)
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1teaspoon dried thyme
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1-2 teaspoons salt, as desired
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, roughly chopped
Heat the oil in a large pot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and cook until translucent- about 3 minutes. Add zucchini and bell peppers, stir, and then cover with the pot, allowing to cook for approximately 5 minutes. Add tomatoes and seasonings, stir, and allow to cook for 20 more minutes over medium heat. Check on the stew periodically to stir and also ensure that it's lightly simmering and not a rolling boil. Reduce the heat as needed. Allow the stew to cool slightly before adding the basil. Serve immediately if preferred or store in the refrigerator and serve chilled.