CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to France Magazines today CLICK HERE

Ratatouille recipe

PUBLISHED: 15:17 14 March 2017 | UPDATED: 15:18 14 March 2017

Ratatouille recipe © Lisovskaya / Thinkstockphotos

Ratatouille recipe © Lisovskaya / Thinkstockphotos

Archant

Packed with vegetables, ratatouille is the perfect French dish for summer. Try this recipe for a simple and delicious lunch or dinner

Ratatouille is a healthy, colourful recipe perfect for the height of summer when all of the vegetables are at their peak.

Originally a way of using an abundance of vegetables in the simplest possible way, ratatouille roughly translates as mish-mash, and few farmers would have had time to sweat over each ingredient.

As a general rule, equal quantities of each vegetable – tomatoes, peppers, onions, courgettes and aubergines – works well, although I prefer a smaller amount of onion and use red rather than brown to add an extra colour.

For me, there is just one compromise that is not worth making. Ratatouille depends on the ripest, sweetest tomatoes, which need to be cooked down to concentrate their juices and flavour: a watery ratatouille is always disappointing.

The aubergines are hardest to get right because of their tendency to soak up oil: I let them cook for a minute of two in a small amount on oil, then drizzle in a little extra as needed, tossing the aubergines until they look glossy.

Fresh basil and garlic are a must and I often drizzle my ratatouille with pistou (the local pesto) for an extra blast of flavour.

In Nice, the home of this dish, the generally accepted method is to sauté each vegetable separately in olive oil and assemble them at the end, which guarantees that each one retains its colour, flavour and texture. However, one Michelin-starred chef told me that he added them one by one in very small cubes to the same pot (first the peppers, followed by the aubergines, courgettes and tomatoes) before slowly simmering them for an hour to reduce the liquid.

How to cut the vegetables is also open to interpretation: I prefer small dice but slightly larger dice is the norm and some people like to cut them into strips or rounds, like their mothers or grandmothers might have done.

____________________________________________________________________

Related articles

How easy is it to be a vegetarian in France?

Recipe for pissaladière

____________________________________________________________________

RECIPE: Ratatouille on toasted bread with basil and garlic

Serves 6

INGREDIENTS

6 vine-ripened tomatoes

Pinch of sugar

Pinch of salt

1 yellow pepper

1 large red pepper

2 small aubergines

2 medium courgettes

1 red onion

1 clove garlic

5-6 sprigs basil

Olive oil

Ground chili pepper, preferably a mild one such as Espelette

Sea salt

6 slices pain de campagne (sourdough bread)

For the pistou:

1 clove garlic

Coarse sea salt

Leaves from 1 bunch basil

¼ cup/4tbsp olive oil

METHOD

1. Cut the tomatoes into quarters and place them in a heavy saucepan with a pinch of sugar and a pinch of salt. Bring to the boil and cook over medium heat for 30-40 minutes, until most of the liquid has evaporated and the sauce has thickened. Strain through a food mill or large-holed sieve to remove the skins.

2. Cut the yellow and red peppers, aubergines and courgettes into 1cm dice and sauté them one at a time on medium-high heat with a little salt in about 1tbsp olive oil for each different type of vegetable (the aubergines might need a little more during cooking). When the vegetables are soft and lightly browned but not mushy, set them aside in a large bowl (they can be combined at this point).

3. Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a sauté pan, sweat the red onion and garlic over a medium heat for a few minutes until lightly caramelised, and add the strained tomatoes. Add all the vegetables and the chopped basil and stew gently for five minutes. Season with salt and chili pepper to taste.

4. For the pistou, blend all the ingredients in a food processor.

5. Just before serving, spread the ratatouille over the slices of pain de campagne and drizzle with pistou (or serve it on the side).

Article by Living France Living France

More from Language and Culture

Thursday, November 15, 2018

France has historically been on the leading edge of eco-friendly projects and regulations. While many argue that much more needs to be done to meet environmental goals in France and globally, here are 11 ways that French government, companies and people are striving to be green.

Read more
Wednesday, November 14, 2018

What’s in a name? A lot, it turns out. Find out the fascinating stories behind the names of these places in France featuring dragons, gods and Sardinian kings.

Read more
Thursday, November 1, 2018

Michel and Alain Roux have unveiled the menu at their new French-inspired riverside brasserie, Roux at Skindles

Read more
Friday, September 21, 2018

As a floating restaurant opens in Paris, we take a look at some of the city’s alternative dining experiences, involving famous rail carriages, secret doorways and eating in total darkness.

Read more
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Kate Mosse was a guest speaker at the Cheltenham Literature Festival in October 2018 and spoke about finding inspiration for her latest book – and beginning of a new series of novels set in France – The Burning Chambers.

Read more
Culture and attractions
Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Agnès Poirier’s latest book explores the history of Paris 1940–1950 and the influential people that lived through the time. The French writer spoke about her book this year at the Cheltenham Literature Festival.

Read more
Thu, 12:24

What would the festive season be without a few games? Get in the competitive spirit with our Christmas language quiz

Read more
Friday, November 30, 2018

Gather the family and see how many of these animals you can name in French

Read more
Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Pigs, processions and high prices - why truffle season is a serious business in France

Read more
Monday, October 1, 2018

If you’re looking for a great wine to take home to impress your guests, you can now discover the best bottles in your neighbourhood at the touch of a button

Read more
Subscribe for

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

France Forum

Questions about France? Visit our free France forum to get help and advice from thousands of other Francophiles and expats. Topics include: property, tax, law, travelling, pets, education, healthcare and much more.

Join the forum

Most Read

Join us on social media

France magazine
Living France magazine
French Property News magazine

Enter our competitions

Win books, DVDs, travel and even holidays in France in our great competitions! Take a look at our latest competitions…

Enter now