I remember watching Ratatouille (the movie, not the dish) when I was a senior in high school and I instantly knew that this veggie stew would become my favorite dish. I was wrong, but only by a few years. The very next day I did the groceries and I made my first Ratatouille, a blend, boring, half-decent stew. So I forgot about Ratatouille and its humble existence. But last year I decided it was about time to rewatch that delightful movie and the dish simply enchanted me. Again. So I did some research, I made the dish and I simply felt in love. Ratatouille is a rustic, almost an austere dish, that kind of dish that makes you fall in love with it over and over again.
There are so many recipes for Ratatouille, you can saute it, you can bake it, you can serve the veggies firm, almost raw or you can simmer them slowly, until tender and incredibly flavorful. My favorite version is so simple but it’s quite time-consuming. After you chop the veggies, you saute them in olive oil, one veggie at a time, until you caramelize them nicely and this creates an amazing depth of flavor. Of course you can saute them all together in a large pot, but the result would be a nice stew, and not a decadent Ratatouille!
Ingredients (for 4 servings):
- 3 small eggplants
- 3 small zucchini
- 2 large white onions
- 6 ripe tomatoes
- 2 bell peppers
- 5 Tbsp olive oil
- 5 Tbsp white wine
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme
- 1 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
- 1 + ¼ Tbsp sea salt, ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- Clean the veggies and peel the onion and the eggplant. Cube the onion, the bell peppers and the eggplant. Slice the zucchinis. Remove the skins from the tomatoes by boiling them in hot water for 15 seconds. Remove the juices and the seeds as well. Roughly chop them. Place the eggplants in a strainer over a bowl and toss with 1 Tbsp of sea salt.
- Take a large skillet (or a Dutch oven) and saute the onions in 2 Tbsp of olive oil, on medium heat until just beginning to caramelize. Add the peppers, sprinkle with a pinch of salt and saute the peppers for about 5 minutes.
- Transfer the onions and the peppers to a large bowl.
- Add 1 Tbsp of olive oil to the same skillet and saute the zucchini on medium temperature until they begin to caramelize (about 5 minutes). Season with a pinch of salt and transfer them to the bowl.
- Add another Tbsp of olive oil to the skillet and brown the eggplants. Season with salt and transfer to the bowl.
- Add another Tbsp of olive oil to the skillet and saute the minced garlic until fragrant (about 2 minutes). Add the chopped thyme and deglaze the skillet with white wine. Add the chopped tomatoes and bring the sauce to a boil. Add the veggies from the bowl, cover with a lid and reduce the temperature to minimum. Allow it to simmer for at least 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- After 1 hour the veggies should be very tender. Let the Ratatouille boil uncovered on high heat for about 20 minutes, until the liquid evaporates and the veggies are covered in a thick sauce. Season with fresh basil and black pepper and serve in a bowl with a generous slice of baguette.