Originating in Nice, France, ratatouille is a dish made up of stewed vegetables that warms you right up. This dish is super healthy too, containing almost all of your five a day. It has all the favourites: onions, tomatoes, peppers, and much more. Top it off with a lovely bouquet garni and you’ll be good to go.
- 450g/ 1lb aubergines
- 8tbsp/120ml olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 450g/ 1lb onions
- 450g/ 1lb tomatoes fresh or tinned
- 2tbsp/ 30ml tomato puree
- 450g/ 1lb courgettes
- 3 peppers (preferably red and/or green)
- Bouquet Garni
- Salt and Pepper
First thing to do when making ratatouille is cut the aubergines into thin slices, then put them in a bowl and leave them for 30 minutes to extract the bitter juices.
While this is happening skin and chop the onions and tomatoes, thinly slice the courgettes, seed and chop the peppers, and crush the garlic.
Rinse the aubergines under a cold tap and pat them dry with kitchen roll.
Heat the garlic and oil in a large saucepan.
Add the onions and cook gently for 10 minutes or so until they’re soft and golden in colour.
Now add the tomatoes and tomatoes puree, cooking for another few minutes before also adding the aubergines, courgettes, peppers, bouquet garni, and some salt and pepper to really get the ratatouille going.
Cover the pan and leave the ratatouille to simmer gently for about 30 minutes.
After this time the vegetables should be soft, and the liquid should have reduced. If the liquid needs to reduce further simply recover the pan and cook for a little bit longer.
This is also the time to adjust the seasoning of the ratatouille if you need to, to get it ready for serving.
Finally, remember to remove the bouquet garni before serving. I’ve had too many instances where a friend or relative has suddenly had an explosion of herbs in their mouth rather than the delicious ratatouille they were expecting.
Top tip: You can also blend or mouli the ratatouille down to make a sauce to put on pasta or rice. A great technique for people or children who aren’t fond of vegetables. They get all the healthiness from the vegetables without really realising it.