Ratatouille is one of my favourite dishes from Provence. It is very simple to make and it is delicious, whether you eat it hot or cold. I like to eat it with a fresh crisp baguette, but it is just as tasty served with pasta, fish, meat or eggs. The rich vegetable stew is also delicious served with lamb.
There are no specific quantities for the vegetables when making this dish so you can to a large extent, vary the quantities and types of vegetables, depending on what you have in your fridge/store cupboard. If you think the tomatoes are a bit watery and tasteless, add 2-3 tablespoons of tomato puree and a little sugar to the mixture along with the tomatoes – this will just give the dish an extra boost of flavour.
900 gm fresh, plump tomatoes
120ml Olive Oil
2 thinly sliced white onions
2 large red peppers which have been seeded and sliced into chunky pieces
2 courgettes, sliced into thick pieces
3 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
15ml chopped fresh thyme
Salt and black pepper to taste
Place the tomatoes into a pan of boiling water for about 30 seconds, then into cold water. This enables you to peel away the skins. Then chop the tomatoes into rough pieces.
Heat a small amount of olive oil in a large pan and fry the onions for a few minutes. Add the peppers and fry for a further 2 minutes. Drain. Add the aubergines and a little extra oil. Fry gently for another five minutes. Add the remaining olive oil and courgettes and fry for 3 minutes. Drain.
Add the garlic (preferably crushed) and tomatoes to the pan with the bay leaves, thyme and a little salt and pepper. Cook gently until the tomatoes turn soft and pulpy.
Place all the vegetables back in the pan and cook gently, stirring most of the time, for about 15 minutes, until the mixture is fairly pulpy but still has a little texture. Add more salt and pepper to taste.
Now the ratatouille is ready to serve in a bowl with bread or whatever you wish to accompany the dish.
I always find that this dish is excellent for cooking on camping trips as it doesn’t take too long to cook and the aroma of the vegetables blending in with the garlic and olive oil, when cooking over a camping stove, is wonderful.