Ratatouille is not only difficult to spell 😉 but also one of these rare inherently vegan French classics.
When we went on holiday in France, three years ago, we were offered a dinner for our night of arrival. After several mails back and forth between our host and me concerning my dietary preferences (“no, no cheese.”; “no, no eggs.” and the like), I arrived not only hungry, but also curious of what our hosts had made of my “special” wishes. And we were not disappointed. We were served a wonderfully satisfying and filling Ratatouille.
Typical ingredients of a ratatouille are always eggplants, peppers, zucchini, tomatoes, onions, garlic, herbs and olive oil. These basic ingredients are mixed, the individual amounts depending on the ingredients’ availability and simmered in olive oil.
Since the preparation of Ratatouille requires a lot of vegetable chopping and some cooking time, I like to prepare a big portion of it. It also makes a nice sauce of pasta, but is equally good with rice or couscous. Leftovers are even cold great on a slice of bread or in a savory crêpe.
The version of Ratatouille that I cooked on Monday, was a version of a Ratatouille nicoise, hence a Ratatouille from the French Mediterranean region.
2 cloves of garlic
a green, a red and a yellow bell pepper
2 medium-sized zucchini
4 beef tomatoes (coeur de boef and san marzano)
150ml dry red wine
3 teaspoons herbes de provence
4 tablespoons tomato paste
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
(1) I usually start by prepping all the veggies. So I peeled and finely diced the onions, prepared the garlic and the garlic press, cut the eggplants and tomatoes into small dice, roughly chopped the peppers and cut the zucchini into half moons.
(2) Heat a large stockpot and sauté the onions in a generous amount of olive oil, 2-3 tablespoons, I guess. I always add a bit of salt to the onions, in order to make them release their juices. Then add the eggplants, sauté them with the onions, stirring often, until they are lightly browned. Add the garlic and the herbs and sauté for another minute. (3) Now add the peppers and another tablespoon or two of olive oil, if your pan appears too dry. Sauté for 3-5 more minutes, then add the zukes and cook the veggies for another 3 minutes.
(4) Add the tomatoes and sauté the veggies for 3-5 minutes, then deglaze the pan with the wine. Cover the pot and let the veggies simmer on low heat for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
(5) Towards the end add the tomato paste, salt and pepper to taste. The ratatouille tastes best when you let it sit for at least a quarter of an hour before serving, in order to allow the flavours to meld.