The ratatouille is a traditional French vegetable dish, that has its origin in the lovely town of Nice, in the French Riviera. The classic recipe requires cooking summer vegetables like aubergines, courgettes and tomatoes in stages and at different temperatures. Below we will instead propose a quicker way to prepare ratatouille.
We just slice the vegetables and layer them in a casserole with a base of tomato sauce and then bake them in the oven. You can arrange the veggies in a floral composition, as we did, or chop them and toss them in the sauce if time is of the essence.
This ratatouille is a healthy dish that you can serve as a side, or as a main paired with toasted bread. We haven't sizzled any of the ingredients in butter, so this recipe is suitable for both vegetarians, vegans, or people with dairy allergies.
|Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Pour the tomato sauce in a mixing bowl and season it with salt, black pepper, 1 tsp of dried thyme, 1 tsp of dried basil, and garlic powder.
You can also add other herbs the Provence such as oregano, marjoram, fennel, or tarragon, for extra flavour.
If your tomato passata tastes slightly bitter, then add a pinch of sugar or a drizzle of honey to the mixture.
Next, let's prepare the vegetables.
Thinly slice the eggplants, zucchini, onions, and tomatoes to a 1/2 cm (1/4 in) thickness.
It's totally optional, but if you have time, we highly recommend soaking the aubergines and courgettes in salted cold water for about 30 minutes. By doing so, the vegetables will lose their bitter taste, and your ratatouille will taste much better.
Transfer the seasoned tomato sauce into an oven-proof casserole or baking dish (1).
Then, arrange the prepared vegetables over the sauce stacking and alternating one slice of each veggie.
Drizzle the ratatouille with extra virgin olive oil and garnish with the remaining thyme and basil (2).
Cover the baking dish with foil to steam the veggies without burning those on top.
Bake the ratatouille for 30 minutes at 220° C (425° F) for static ovens or at 200°C (390°F) for fan ovens.
Then, remove the foil, put the casserole back in the oven and roast for a further 10 minutes.
You'll see the tomato sauce bubbling and the vegetables getting browned.
Leave the stew to cool down for a few minutes before serving with toasted bread.
If you can get the vegetables with a similar diameter, they will stack more evenly in the casserole.
To make this dish even more colourful, try to add sliced yellow and green peppers.