Ratatouille is a great recipe to have in your arsenal because you can make it ahead of time…actually ratatouille tastes even better if you do make it ahead of time.and then reheat it.
Ratatouille is great because it can help you rescue those extra vegetables that you have sitting in the “food rotter” of your fridge before having to toss them out….transforming those once-forgotten veggies into a tasty side dish or topping for crusty bread.
The French word for ratatouille actually means “to stir up”…and there are several different methods of making ratatouille….such as cooking it on the stove…cooking the vegetables separately and then combining them and cooking them together slowly…cooking each vegetable separately in a pot on the stove until well browned and then layering everything back into the pot with a generous amount of olive oil and some tomatoe, and letting it all slowly stew.
The perfect rataotuille combines whatever veggies that you have on hand or whatever your personal favorite vegetables may be—such as tomatoes, squash, garlic, onion, zucchini, eggplant, bell pepper, and leafy green herbs—and the perfect combination of spices—such as marjoram, fennel, basil, bay leaf, and thyme….perfectly cooked until they reach a smooth, creamy consistency….and simmered until they reach the perfect meld of flavors.
Since different veggies take different times to cook, the best way to make ratatouille is to roast the vegetables separately until each is caramelized on the edges and a little dehydrate and then adding all of these perfectly roasted veggies togetther in a simmering fresh tomato sauce….instead of simply throwing all of them into a pot all at the same time…
This method will allow each different vegetable enough time, but not too much time, to reach true perfection.
This delicious vegan and gluten free dish is one that everyone, including your pickiest eater…can enjoy.
So let’s get cooking…shall we?!
The vegetables are the key ingredient…and in order to make your ratatouille as perfect as possible, it’s important that you buy the absolute best quality vegetables you can.
Eggplant…2 medium…Look for tender, young, thin-skinned eggplant. You can use any type of eggplant—graffiti, Italian, Japanese, Chinese or white…but if the skin of the eggplant that you choose is tough and leathery, peel it before using it in your ratatouille.
Garlic…5 large cloves garlic or 1tsp garlic powde
Olive Oil…1C olive oil
Spices and Seasonings…Season to your personal preference, but a few good options would be..
- Basil…¼C fresh basil
- Bay leaves…2 small
- Black Pepperp
- Red Pepper…¼tsp red pepper flakes
- Rosemary…3 sprigs fresh rosemary
- Thyme…6 sprigs fresh or 1/4tsp dried
Tomatoes…6 large tomatoes…Use any variety to tomato, but look for tomatoes that are firm, such as plum tomatoes, instead of the larger, soft round ones because the softer tomatoes will not hold up to peeling and blanching.
Preheat oven to 425. Lightly spray two cookie sheets with PAM.
Prepping the Veggies
Eggplant…Slice off the top and bottom from each. Lay the eggplant on its side. Cut it in half and then into 1″ chunks or spears. Toss eggplant with 2Tbsp olive oil until lightly coated. Arrange in single layer on cookie sheet. Sprinkle with ¼tsp salt. Set aside.
Squash/Bell Pepper/Zucchini…Slice squash and zucchini into 1/4″ rounds. Chop the bell pepper. Toss veggies with 1Tbsp olive oil and ¼tsp salt. Arrange in a single layer on a second cookie sheet. Sprinkle with salt. Then drizzle olive oil on the veggies….giving them all a good coating of oil, but not drowning them in it.
- Bring a large pot of water to a boil.
- Add tomatoes.
- Let stay in boiling water until the skins split…about 10 seconds. When you are blanching tomatoes, it is important that you remove the tomatoes from the boiling water quickly so that only the skin cooks, not the flesh also.
- Transfer the tomatoes quickly to a bowl of ice water, using a slotted spoon.
- Once the tomatoes have cooled, peel them and then cut them in half.
- Use your fingers to remove the seeds. Dice them.
Finishing the Dish
Stir the roasted vegetables into the simmering tomato sauce.
Let simmer 5 more minutes.
Add 1tsp olive oil, basil, red pepper flakes, and oregano.
Serve immediately or let cool to room temp before refrigerating for later.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.