Ratatouille is a world-renowned Provencal vegetable stew, which is made optimally during autumn season when all vegetables required for this recipe are easily available at cheap prices. Remember that the dish cannot be attractive if the vegetables become too mushy. So make sure to cut all vegetables to the right size, neither too large nor too small.
The perfect ratatouille recipe always includes eggplant, bell peppers, tomatoes, zucchini, garlic, onions, and fresh herbs. The wonderful vegetable recipe can be dished up in various ways, both cold as well as hot.
Yield: Makes 8-10 servings
Cooking time: 50 minutes
Tomatoes – 2 ½ lb
Onions (cut lengthwise and then sliced crosswise) – 2 large
Eggplant (cut into cubes) – 2 lb
Assorted bell peppers (yellow, green, and red, cut into cubes) – 3 large
Zucchinni (cut lengthwise and then crosswise into thick pieces) – 4 medium
Garlic cloves (finely sliced) – 8 large
Basil leave (torn) – 20
Flat leaf parsley (chopped) – 1 cup
Extra virgin olive oil – 1 cup + 2 tablespoons
Black pepper – ½ teaspoon
Salt – 2 ¼ teaspoons
1. Make an incision in the form of ‘X’ at the bottom of all tomatoes using a sharp knife and then blanch them in boiling water for about 1 minute. Once done, transfer the tomatoes to a cutting board using a slotted spool and allow them to cool down enough to be handled without burning your hand. Once they have cooled down to room temperature, peel off its skin, using a paring knife after beginning from the end that was scored.
2. After the skin is removed, chop up the tomatoes coarsely and transfer them to a pot along with basil, parsley, garlic, and 1/3 cups of olive oil. Allow them to simmer for some time while stirring it occasionally, till the tomatoes break down and you get a slightly thickened sauce.
3. While the sauce is still simmering, toss the eggplant pieces along with ½ teaspoon of salt in a big colander and allow it to stand for 30 minutes after removing them.
4. In the meanwhile, cook the onions in 4 tablespoons of oil along with ¼ teaspoons of salt over moderate heat, till they get softened completely. This process may take about 10 minutes in all. Transfer the onions to a large bowl, and then cook bell peppers in the same skillet along with ¼ teaspoon of salt. Once the peppers have also softened, transfer them to the same bowl with the onions. In the same way, cook zucchini with salt on moderate heat, for about 6-7 minutes.
5. In the mean time, pat dry the eggplant using a paper towel. Add the rest of the oil to the skillet and cook the eggplant on medium heat, still it become soft.
6. Add all vegetables, black pepper, and remaining salt to the tomato sauce and allow it to simmer partially covered, stirring occasionally till all vegetables are tender. Let the ratatouille cool down and serve at room temperature or slightly warm.