Ratatouille is a traditionally vegetarian dish, and although it has a lengthy cook time, I think the results were well worth it. Especially since the cook time is mainly down time, it's the prep that you might need some assistance with, because there are quite a few vegetables to cut up and they will all need to be cooked separately initially to ensure that they are cooking and not steaming.
Recipe from The Kitchn.
Recipe from The Kitchn.
-2 large eggplants
-2 yellow onions
-3 bell peppers
-6-8 medium zucchini
-4 large tomatoes
-1 1/2 - 2 tablespoons olive oil
-3-4 cloves garlic
-1 bay leaf
-3-4 sprigs thyme
-1/4 cup loosely packed basil, sliced into ribbons
-Extra basil for garnishing
-Salt and pepper
Chop the eggplants into bite-sized cubes and then transfer them to a colander set over a bowl and toss with a tablespoon of salt. Let the eggplant sit while you prepare the rest of the ingredients. Doing this will help to draw the excess moisture out of the eggplants.
Dice the onions and roughly chop the peppers, zucchinis, and tomatoes into bite-sized pieces. Mince the garlic. The vegetables will be cooked in batches, so keep them all separate.
Warm a teaspoon of olive oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the onions and a generous pinch of salt. Sauté until the onions have softened and are just beginning to brown, about 10 minutes. Add the peppers and continue cooking until the peppers have also softened, about another 5 minutes. Transfer the onions and peppers to a large bowl.
Next, add another teaspoon of oil to the pot and sauté the zucchini with a generous pinch of salt until the zucchini has softened and is beginning to brown, about 5 minutes. Transfer the zucchini to the bowl with the onions and peppers.
Rinse the eggplant under running water and squeeze the cubes gently with your hands to remove as much moisture as possible. Warm two teaspoons of oil in the pan and sauté the eggplant until it has softened and has begun to turn translucent, about 10 minutes. Transfer the eggplant to the bowl with the other vegetables.
Warm another teaspoon of olive oil in the pan and sauté the garlic until it is fragrant and just starting to turn golden, about 1 minute. Add the tomatoes, bay leaf, whole sprigs of thyme. As the tomato juices begin to bubble, scrape up any brown glaze on the bottom of the pan. Add a half cup of red wine to the pot to help deglaze the pot (if you don't have an open bottle, use some water or a little balsamic vinegar).
Add all of the vegetables back into the pan and stir until everything is evenly mixed. Bring the stew to a simmer, then turn down the heat to low. Stirring occasionally, simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
Remove the bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Just before taking the ratatouille off the heat, stir in the basil. Sprinkle the extra basil over each bowl.
Dave and I loved this recipe. The ratatouille had a wonderful flavor and overall it was pretty easy to make, the most difficult part was the prep. The vegetable broke down to a nice silky, smooth texture. We thought this was best served with some good bread -- we picked up a loaf of rosemary olive oil bread from our local grocery store and that paired very well with the recipe. This would be the perfect way to use up a bounty of vegetables at the end of the summer.