So many ratatouille recipes exists, and everyone claims to have the authentic one. So I am not going to do that. What I will do, is tell you which features a good ratatouille should have. To give it it's true French Mediterranean flavours and feel.
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
The main ingredients
- aubergine (eggplant)
- courgette (zucchini)
- Red bell pepper
- basil (or other herbs to use as topping)
- quality olive oil
Important steps for the perfect ratatouille
- In my opinion a ratatouille should always be full of the original flavours of the vegetables. Meaning that you should *never add water (or any other liquid). Leave the vegetables on a very bare simmer during the cooking time, and let them release their own juices.
- Cut your vegetables in similar size cubes. It doesn't only look better but it helps the equal cooking process. Recently I see many Ratatouille dishes in beautiful layered slices. I am sure you have seen them. They look absolutely beautiful! I am not really sure how you can assure the cooking process while using slices in layers. As the tomato is supposed to become the juice/syrup of the Ratatouille. And even tough the vegetables keep their shape, they do have to be well cooked to be able to release their juices which add to the ultimate Ratatouille experience. So therefore I stick to classic way of serving 😉
- Secondly a ratatouille should never become mushy. The vegetables should be still recognizable in their nice cubes shapes. The reason why you unfortunately often see a 'mushy' one is because many people just turn the heat up and stir at the end, to reduce the liquid. If you want to keep your veggies intact. Than drain the vegetables, and reduce the liquid on high heat into a syrup. Pour the syrup back over the vegetables together with a good high quality olive oil. The high quality olive oil is of great importance, don't budget on this.
- Simpleness is king while making the perfect Ratatouille. A little thyme, some parsley, bay leaf, and basil for topping does the trick. It doesn't need anything more. The pure vegetable flavours and good olive oil make these dish one of the most popular dishes, worldwide 😉
Personally I like this dish on it's own, as a main dish with a nice rustic home-made bread and some more good olive oil. But it is as well very suitable as an accompaniment to many other dishes. Add some steamed herby potatoes, pasta, or rice. Or enjoy it as a great tapas! The possibilities with this dish are endless. A true delish in so many ways.
What to drink with a ratatouille?
Ratatouille shouts for red. You will need a wine that has enough body to deal with the depth and herby flavours of the dish. An Italian Chianti or an Australian Shiraz would work. But if you want to keep things local, than stay within the area of origin of the dish, which in this case would be a Syrah from the Rhone valley. Santé!
Extra note on the wine; if you happen to have some good old full bodied red's lying in your cellar, like an old Bordeaux. Than you might want to consider opening one for a Ratatouille , or similar type of dish. Because with a plant based diet, these red's stay often untouched. But a good classic Ratatouille can definitely deal with a beauty from the cellar.
Are you as well a Mediterranean food lover, check out some of my other typical Mediterranean dishes;
- Delicious braised aubergine
- courgette & avocado salad
- The ultimate Mediterranean soup, ajo blanco!
- Mediterranean roasted veggies
Good luck, enjoy the process, and most importantly, … ENJOY eating! Please remember to send me some pictures on Instagram , by adding @haricoco1 to your post.
- 450 grams 3 cups white onions, chopped in parts
- 450 grams 3 cups red pepper, chopped in 1,5 cm cubes
- 450 grams 5 cups aubergine, in cubes
- 450 grams 2 + ½ cups courgette, in cubes
- 6 cloves of garlic thinly sliced
- ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
- 1 bouquet parsley and bay leaf
- 4 large tomatoes peeled and deseeded
- 160 ml ¾ cup olive oil
- salt and pepper for seasoning
- basil leaves for garnish (or parsley, or other leaves)
- Put half of the oil in a cask iron pot. And sauté the onion on medium heat until soft (not browned)
- Add the red pepper, aubergine, garlic, cayenne and salt, and fry for approx. 5 minutes
- Add the thyme, bouquet of parsley and bay leaf, and the tomatoes, bring to a light simmer.
- After half an hour add the courgette. Continue on a low simmer for another 1 hour.
- Drain the vegetables off, and reduce the liquid until it becomes a syrup.
- Plate the ratatouille (add seasoning) , add the syrup on top, and the rest of the olive oil. Garnish with the basil leaves.
This Ratatouille recipe is part of my new series; 'Travels of taste'. We use our taste buds to travel the world and discover the use of our senses and imaginations to meet other cultures through food. So today we find ourselves around the Mediterranean. If you are ready to imagine yourself travelling around the Mediterranean while sensing its salty air & hot summers and tasting its incredible variety of fresh food. Check out my full Mediterranean 'travels of taste' post; >>> The Med; Olive oil, herbs & fresh produce.