Ratatouille

Ratatouille
  • Aubergine – one
  • Courgette – two
  • Red pepper – one (can be any colour or a mixture)
  • Mushrooms (optional, not traditional)
  • Onions (optional, but use lots of garlic if no onion)
  • Garlic
  • Olive oil
  • Tomatoes (fresh or a tin)
  • Red wine
  • Dried herbs
  • Tomato puree
  • Pepper
  • Brown sugar
  • Tamari (optional, but I don’t generally use shoyu or salt as there will be salt left in the aubergine)
  • Fresh basil (optional)
  • Lemon juice or balsamic vinegar

Set oven to 180 C (fan 170 C)

Cut aubergine into chunks and toss in lots of salt. Set aside for ten mins then rinse several times and squeeze the pieces. Cut up courgette and mushrooms/onions (if you are using them) and put them and the squeezed aubergine in an oven tray. Put in the garlic too – whole cloves or big chunks work well. Mix in lots of olive oil and put into the oven for about 30-40 mins – stirring occasionally. Then take the tray out and turn off the oven.

Put the roasted veg into a big saucepan and add the tomatoes (if they are fresh, skin and chop them, or use a tin instead). Add the rest of the second lot of ingredients and cook slowly on the top of the stove for another 20 mins or so.

Before serving, mix in fresh basil if you have it, and a little lemon juice.

Traditionally ratatouille is an accompaniment to a main meal but it can also be the main event (particularly if topped with grated cheese). It is easy served with rice, or as a filling for a baked potato. It’s a good thing to make if cooking for both meat-eaters and vegetarians – the veggies can have it as their main meal and others can have it as a side dish. It tends to make a large amount but is even better the next day.

There are variations – like adding olives, skipping the mushrooms (which most recipes don’t have), using different colours of pepper etc. I tend to make it without onion but with lots of garlic. If you do use onion, it needs to be fried or roasted well or else it just dilutes the flavour of the other veg. Many people fry everything first but I find it is less messy and easier to roast the veg in the oven.

Not sure about cooking times – could do with editing next time we make it.

See also this link – about cooking things separately and de-seeding the tomatoes: