Since my move to Provence, France I have started trying to cook some of the local dishes, with varying degrees of success. While I’ve had plenty of interesting failures and a few that were just scary, one dish that I have managed to perfect is Ratatouille.
The best way to describe this dish is as a “comfort food”. It is warm, filling and reminds most native Frenchmen of home. What chicken soup and macaroni and cheese is to Americans, ratatouille is to the French. In the time that I have live here I’ve found several recipes, but the one that is my favorite is also one of the easiest. If you want to learn how to cook perfect ratatouille I suggest you follow this simple recipe.
Here are the ingredients that you’ll need, and it is important to use all of them or the overall flavor of the dish will be off.
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 1 1/2 cups small diced yellow onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 cups medium diced eggplant with the skin on
- 1/2 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 cup diced green bell peppers
- 1 cup diced red bell peppers
- 1 cup diced zucchini squash
- 1 cup diced yellow squash
- 1 1/2 cups peeled, seeded and chopped tomatoes
- 1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil leaves
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley leaves
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
After you assembled the ingredients you will also need a large 12” saucepan. Place the pan over medium heat and add the olive oil. When it is hot stir in the onions and garlic. Once they are lightly caramelized it is time to add the eggplant and thyme. After letting the eggplant soften and cook for 5 minutes, the peppers, squash and zucchini should go in the pan. Once another 5 minutes has passed toss in the tomatoes, parsley, basil, salt and pepper. This should be allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes, and then serve the ratatouille hot to your guests.
This recipe only takes about 25 minutes to cook and requires even less prep time. Not only is it easy to make, you’ll also have enough ratatouille for up to 6 generous servings. Who knew that cooking perfect ratatouille could be so easy. This might be one of the reasons why the French consider this simple and delicious dish one of their favorite comfort foods. I’ve also learned that the ingredients can change slightly, depending on the region. If you have a favorite ratatouille recipe that you would like to share, I would love to read it. I’m always looking for new dishes to cook in the kitchen.