Ratatouille (French Provençal Stewed Vegetables)
Today’s generation knows ratatouille Pixar-style — a dish of sliced vegetables arranged alternately in a concentric circle to make the colors of the vegetables pop. Pixar got it wrong and Remy’s masterpiece is not ratatouille at all. The beautifully arranged vegetable dish is the Provençal tian which is also the name of the earthenware in which it is traditionally cooked.This is ratatouille (from the Occitan ratatolha) — diced vegetables stewed in chopped tomatoes. Traditionally a pesant dish, seasonal vegetables are used. The most common combination has eggplants, zucchini, tomatoes, bell peppers and summer squash.
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 2 eggplants cubed
- 1 zucchini halved then cut into half-inch sliced
- 2 bell peppers deseeded and diced
- 1 wedge squash cubed
- 4 cloves garlic thinly sliced
- 1 red onion roughly chopped
- 4 cups chopped fresh tomatoes
- ¼ teaspoon dried thyme or 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano or 3 sprigs fresh oregano
- salt to taste
- pepper to taste
- basil chiffonade to garnish
- chopped parsley to garnish
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- Heat the olive oil in a wide shallow pan.
- Saute the garlic and onion until softened and aromatic.
- Add the eggplants, zucchini, bell peppers and squash. Fry lightly for a minute or so.
- Pour in the chopped tomatoes.
- Add the thyme and oregano.
- Sprinkle in some salt and pepper.
- Stir the vegetables. Bring to a boil then immediately lower the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes until tender. The juice from the tomatoes should be just enough to allow the vegetables to cook. For best results, taste the ratatouille midway through the cooking and add more salt and pepper, as needed.
- Off the heat, taste the ratatouille one last time and adjust the seasonings, if necessary.
- Sprinkle the basil chiffonade and chopped parsley over the ratatouille. Serve warm or at room temperature with rice, bread or noodles.
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