Ratatouille hails from France where it is a culinary speciality of Nice. It was initially a dish made by peasants or poor farmers prepared during the summer months when there was an abundance of vegetables. Ratatouille can be found in many European countries under different names. It is essentially a stew of various vegetables. In Italy this dish might be called caponata. Ratatouille is a variation of similar dishes from the Mediterranean, you can have it as a main or side dish, for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It can be served hot or cold with rice, bread or potatoes or in France it is served with Fish such as Tuna. At The Cooking Academy, we like this dish not only for its rich taste but also because it uses lots of vegetables, garlic, herbs and spices making it highly nutritious.
Gluten free, dairy free, vegan & Vegetarian. This recipe is heart, gut, and brain healthy.
4-5 tbsp Olive oil
1 aubergine cut into 2 cm cubes
1 large courgette diced into 1.5 cm cubes
½ red pepper + ½ yellow pepper diced 2cm cubes
2 red onions
3 tsp garlic finely minced
4 sprigs of thyme
½ a bunch of fresh basil, (10g)
1 tbsp tomato puree
1 tsp paprika
¼ tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp Dijon or English mustard
1 tsp salt + 1 tsp black pepper
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp honey or brown sugar
Zest of ½ a lemon
1 tbsp finely chopped Mediterranean parsley
2 large ripe tomatoes
200g rich plum tomatoes
- Start by preparing some of your immediate ingredients before you start. grate, or mince the garlic; peel and slice the onions into thin wedges. Trim the aubergine and cut into 2cm cubes, as well as the courgettes into 1.5 cm cubes. Pick the thyme & basil leaves and set aside, then finely slice the stalks of the basil.
- Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a wide heavy based pan, add the aubergine to the pan coating in the oil, cook on a low heat to start to soften then turn up the heat to medium to allow them to start to caramelise. This should take about 7-8 minutes. In the meantime, dice the courgette and peppers and set aside. Remove the aubergine from the pan into a large bowl with a slotted spoon.
- Add another tbsp of oil and then add the courgettes and peppers, fry for approximately 5-7 minutes, or until golden and softened, but not cooked through. In the meantime, roughly chop the tomatoes and the onions and set aside. When the courgettes and peppers are ready, spoon the cooked veg into the bowl with the aubergine.
- Add a further tbsp of olive oil to the pan add the onions and cook on a low heat to soften first to allow the acid from the onion to release and evaporate, cook for 6-7 minutes then add a 3 tsp garlic, the basil stalks and thyme leaves. Now return the aubergine, courgettes, and peppers to the pan – stir well to combine.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, tinned tomatoes and 1 tbsp tomato puree to the pan along with mustard, paprika, chilli flakes, balsamic vinegar, honey, salt, and pepper, stir well and break down the tomatoes with the wooden spoon.
- Cover the pan and simmer over a low heat for 25-30 minutes, or until reduced, sticky, and sweet. Add a few drops of water if it is sticking to the bottom.
- Tear in the basil leaves, finely grate in the lemon zest and adjust the seasoning, if needed. Serve with a piece of bruschetta, hunk of bread or steamed rice.